This could have been written anytime after a crazy with a gun decides to kill innocent people. After the Stockton school shootings, Columbine, Aurora movie theaters, mall shootings and most recently Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. Anytime there is a tragedy we search for answers on why it happened and how we can prevent it from happening again. We did it after 9/11. Security was increased and other measures were taken to not only make air travel safer, but prevent a person or group of people from using an airplane as a weapon of mass destruction. It forced us to deal with being inconvenienced. Longer lines, limits on what can be carried on a plane. Air travel is not a right, it’s a choice.
Gun ownership is different. It is a right guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment in our Constitution. We can’t ban all guns. That’s not legal and it’s not possible. It’s also not the solution. All across the country the debate goes on about what we can do to prevent future massacres. It’s been a hot topic on our website, Elk Grove Laguna Forums as well. Should schools have armed security guards? Gun control. We have had some very good discussions on these subjects. There have been many suggestions on how we can either prevent this from happening or making it less likely. The reality is we can’t prevent these things from happening unless people are willing to curb the civil rights of innocent people. Let’s look at some of the suggestions.
Changes to the mental health system. More awareness would be great. Does that mean more government? Does it mean more government intrusion in our lives? You can’t just force an adult to seek help or take medication. The number of people who turn psycho and go on a shooting spree is very, very small. Are we going to lock up people just in case they may one day turn into killers? Are we really interested in restricting the rights of innocent people?
Gun control. A complete ban will never happen. That’s off the table. We already have restrictions in place. Some types of guns and ammunition are already banned. The shooter in Newtown used his mom’s guns that she purchased legally. Those guns wouldn’t be banned under proposed gun control regulations. We need to stop thinking like rational people. A person who shoots innocent children is not rational. Banning guns will not stop criminals from getting them. Murder is illegal and that doesn’t stop them. The mass shooters go into it knowing they will either be killed or kill themselves when they are caught. How are you going to stop someone with that mentality?
The Cato Institute published a paper on how armed citizens can prevent crime. They gave examples of this happening.
More security. That could provide a last level of defense, but is not a guarantee of safety. People mention that Columbine had an armed security guard and there was still a high death toll. Maybe it would have been worse. Two days after the Newtown shooting, an off duty officer shot a suspect at a Texas movie theater who had already shot two people. It may have averted another mass shooting. On New Years Eve in Old Sacramento an armed security guard shot and disabled a suspect who shot and killed two people. It may have prevented more killings or the suspect from escaping. Would it work at schools? Who knows. It could be a deterrent. It may make them think twice but at the same time we know our schools are not completely safe. Most recess areas are in view from the street.
Another suggestion is having teachers or principal’s armed. That could be a complicated issue and deciding how to do it would be the subject of intense debate. Not all parents will be in favor of that. There would need to be strict criteria on where the weapons will be stored etc.
Where does this leave us? What can we do? Maybe a little bit of everything. Some restrictions on automatic weapons are likely. More mental health awareness is necessary. That has to start with families and friends. More security at schools and possibly public places are likely as well. Most of this is out of our control, which is frustrating to everyone. We all have a desire to fix this.