You may have noticed that there was a school shooting in Florida the other day. Or perhaps not; mass shootings aren’t as newsworthy as they once were. They happen, there’s an outburst of anguish and argument, one side crying out for change and the other resisting it. Then we subside and wait for the next one.
I wish I had the answers, but I don’t. I just have questions, especially for the folks who resist anything suggesting gun control. You say guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Does that mean, then, that opioids don’t kill people? So no need to try to control the availability of the pills? I gather that you think it’s insensitive and unfair to the inanimate object to accuse it of being the culprit, when obviously guns can’t pull their own trigger. OK, the gun is only a tool. So let’s make that particular tool a little less easily available to the real guilty party, the person.
I read that the real problem is that we’ve taken God and prayer out of schools. We’ve done neither. God is, according to what I’ve been taught, everywhere. I don’t know how any entity could banish the Supreme Being from school or anywhere else. To think that is possible seriously diminishes the omnipotence of God. And personal prayer has never been taken out of the classroom, only school-sponsored prayer.
Some say the problem is just widespread evil and that we need to deal with that. Very well. Let me know how you intend to approach this eradication problem and how soon you think we’ll be free of evil, so that no more mass shootings take place. In the meantime, maybe we can take some interim measures to make it more difficult for evil to prevail.
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Many believe the AR15 rifle, commonly referred to as an assault rifle, has made it far too easy to kill a large number of people quickly. I am somewhat familiar with the M16, the military twin of the AR15, and I can vouch for the fact that such rifles sling a lot of lead in a short period of time. Should they be taken off the market? That would be my choice, not that it would solve the problem completely – no one thing will – but I think it would be a step in the right direction. A sacrifice to those who simply like finely made weapons, but a sacrifice that should be made if it will save lives. I suspect, though, that the AR15 will still be readily available long after I’m gone.
A suggestion I find dazzling is that we add more guns to our existing super-abundance. People who have watched far too many movies and television serials believe a “good guy with a gun” can stop an intruding shooter, shooting straight without endangering others, and somehow exuding a special scent that tells invading cops that he or she actually is a good guy. Few teachers, by the way, have the time or the inclination, on top of everything else, to be the good guy with a gun.
Many people have latched on to the idea that all mass shooting culprits are mentally ill. Experts assure us that is not true, though clearly a good many are. If those with mental illness are now our targets, we must somehow decide how to distinguish the person who hears voices telling him the world is against him from the one who has occasional spells of depression, moderated by a prescription. And, having figured out how to make that distinction, we have the problem of deciding how, cautious to protect individual rights as far as possible, we can identify the potential time bombs to law enforcement.
No one step will solve the horrendous problem we’re facing. My inclination to reduce, not eliminate, gun availability won’t do it by itself. But, to those who oppose any control on guns, how are your solutions working out?