Sunday, December 23, 2012

Opinion: Why School Shootings Will Continue

In the aftermath of the recent Newtown Connecticut school shooting, in which 26 people were slain by a deranged gunman, the entire nation is mourning and asking what can we do to prevent these incidents from happening.

More often than not the proposed solution is to enact more gun bans, to make it harder for criminals and mentally ill people from getting guns.

Many are even calling for the outright ban of private gun ownership, despite this right being guaranteed by our Constitution. The logic is "if people couldn't get guns, then this couldn't have happened."

The only problem with this thinking is it won't work.

This logic is simplistic and wrong, because it fails to deal with the root cause of gun violence. It just is a feel good solution... something we do when we are frustrated and want to do something. Even though we all know it will not prevent these tragedies. We just want to do something.

The only gun control laws that have reduced crime are the right to concealed carry laws. All the others are just cosmetic laws that do absolutely nothing to prevent a determeined criminal or mentally unbalanced person from using a gun illegally.

We already have 25,000 gun laws. More laws won't stop this problem. We need to ask outselves what has changed, because 40 years ago... when guns were MUCH easier to get.... this sort of thing never happened.

Something is causing this besides "it's too easy to get guns." Because right now, it certainly isn't that easy. There is almost an inverse relationship. As guns get harder to get, we see more school shootings. And the places these things happen are the states with the toughest gun control laws, not the weakest. (Note... Conn. is rated as having the 4th toughest gun laws of all 50 states.)

If gun bans stopped gun violence, then LA, NYC, and DC would be the safest places in America, since they have the toughest gun laws. And Utah, Wyoming and Montana would rife with gun violence, since they have the laxest laws. But just the reverse is true.

So, what can we do about this problem? Making it harder for honest citizens to own guns won't solve the problem. Clearly, there must be some other cause for the alarming increase in gun violence.

The answer is simple, but will be very unpopular. In order to revesse this we need to change our culture. We need to raise children with stronger and safer values. This means we need to think hard about:

1. Violent video games (Grand Theft Auto, for example)
2. Violent rap music lyric
3. Medicating children rather than disciplining them
4. The glorification of violence by movies and TV
5. A permissive culture where anything goes
6. The erosion of parental rights
7. Our failure to teach ethics and civics in schools
8. Our failure to keep dangerous people locked up in prisons and asylums.
9. Boys growing up without fathers are much more likely to become criminals.

High School Rifle Club, 1946
While it has become harder and harder for honest citizens to buy and own guns, all those nine things have happened too. The biggest problem with "lets pass another gun ban" is that it won't work. It is just the knee jerk reaction of people who cannot think or who simply don't want to deal with the real problems.

Forty five years ago, when I was in High School, kids would bring their rifles to school on Thursdays for Rifle Club Meetings. And this was in NYC. No one got shot. 

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