Sunday, December 23, 2012

Will It Be Different This Time?

I don't like repeating myself (he repeated), so I've kept mum so far about the Newtown, CT massacre in the elementary school and the gun issues.  Please see my post called "The Usual",after the massacre in Aurora, CO, in which I predicted several aspects of the current controversy--not that it required a crystal ball or anything.

There are a couple of things that are different this time--the crime so senseless, horrendous and inhuman, the election so over, the utter insanity of taking out one's frustrations on first graders.  I will say this:  President Obama did have the courage to speak out--forcefully--this time, and damn the consequences. The NRA had to think it over, let the heat of the moment die a little, before they made "their contribution" to the debate.  And the best they could think of was to put armed guards in every school?  That is the epitome of throwing up one's hands and giving in to madness.

Apart from "the usual" suggestions, which are more obvious than usual in this case--no semi-automatic weapons or assault guns, close the gun show loophole and prosecute the online gun dealers who defy the laws, develop a database of mentally disturbed people who cannot buy guns--here's a new suggestion: Guns can have devices which limit their use to the authorized buyers; they won't work for anyone else.  It could be based on palm prints, fingerprints, or retinal scan.  Prohibit the manufacture or importation of the current, unsafe guns, and begin steps to incentivize people to replace their old ones with safe ones. It's radical, I know, but radical solutions need to be proposed. In 50 or 100 years, perhaps, we will actually be a civilized society, instead of a half-civilized, half-mad one.

As far as policing the schools, that is a job for the police--not school administrators, teachers, or private rent-a-cops.  A simple solution is to have a mini-police station within shouting distance of public schools, which are increasingly clumped in shared campuses. So far, the epidemic of madness hasn't hit private schools so much, so it is a good time to consider what is/will be necessary for private schools to protect themselves.  Much as I hate the militarization of education (enough in our lives is militarized already), we can't just accept that schools will be unsafe with millions--and I mean it--of unqualified (and I don't mean just untrained) gun-holders out there.

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