This was not the blog I originally intended to publish today. I’m going to save that one, with a much brighter focus, for next week. The Sandy Hook school shooting has caused a national outcry, and the one thing everyone can all agree on is that we are beyond sad about it. And we are angry. And no matter what is done, we cannot bring back the lives of those who were lost.
Surrounding this event, there has been the inevitable discussion about guns and gun control.
The truth is that if we banned hand guns, any psychotic monster like the one who committed the heinous-beyond-comprehension attack on the Connecticut school children yesterday would have used a shotgun, rifle or perhaps another type of weapon. People who are on illogical and inhumane missions to destroy others and have no regard for their own lives will use whatever means necessary, even if not officially deemed a weapon to carry out their attacks. We all remember the attack on the World Trade Center. How many of us ever thought of using airplanes as weapons of mass destruction before? Not me.
So the question is, are we as United States citizens willing to forsake our right to bear firearms as civilians? I’m not; and I’ll explain why.
I’m fully aware that this is a serious topic, especially following yesterday's terrible tragedy. I know that many will oppose my opinions; however, there has got to be a middle ground for any solution to really work.
Most people who commit these kinds of killing spree crimes are not licensed to have guns in the first place. People will always find a way to get them no matter what the gun control laws are. Unfortunately, when people want more restrictive gun laws they are targeting a population of people who legally embrace the second amendment to the Constitution, by going through proper licensing and background checks, which in most situations is NOT the crazy person who will buy a gun on the black market or steal one to cause harm.
There will always be some insane jackass who wants to cause harm by any means. How do we prevent someone from going off the deep end, and if not using a gun, resort to a bomb, or other method of madness against an innocent portion of the population? That is the key.
The people that do go through proper licensing to bear arms do it for one of four reasons - self defense, defending others (as in police officers), hunting, and collecting/hobbyist/occasionally go to a shooting range. As an American citizen I would like the option to be able to defend myself and my child against maniacs like this if the situation need be.
When we had Hurricane Sandy in NJ, people were without power for weeks. No power means no alarm systems work. We could barely get signals on our cell phones to call for help if we needed to. People were stealing generators out of neighbors’ backyards and stealing gas to run them, too. If someone wanted to break into a dark cold house thinking that they were going to do some looting, they probably could have, and in some cases did. Would I want to be a female with a child in the house at night, in the dark, absolutely defenseless? Um, no.
What about this idea: maybe it should be easier for a person to get and carry a gun, but in a very controlled way. Just entertain this idea for a minute: What if the process to obtain a gun permit is regulated a lot more, while keeping the availability of guns intact (not automatic weapons – there’s a big difference)? It would be hard at first to achieve the results we want, but if everyone (or almost everyone) carried a gun and knew how to use it, the thrill of carrying one when you aren’t supposed to would be diminished. Not only that, but if you tried anything funny, you would know right away that chances are, with a room full of people pointing a gun at you, you’re not going to get away with it.
Like punishment for breaking laws, if the penalties and consequences (in this case knowing that there is an armed population around you) were stricter, you'd see reduced crime. Instead, most first offenders of anything get a slap on the wrist and go out and become repeat offenders. If you have a great enough deterrent in the first place (like an ARMED police officer at each school), some lunatics would think twice before going on a shooting spree in a school. And yes, you will always have a crazy one who doesn't care if they die in the process of hurting others....so they will try to cause harm regardless. You can’t ban crazy. But you know what? If you plant someone in that school who is trained to kill a psycho like this, chances are that psycho won't kill many or any.
Teachers are supposed to act like defenders now anyway - armed or not. They are the unarmed front line protecting our children. That just doesn't seem right to me. They need backup that works.
If we left the decision to hire armed personnel at schools up to school funding, then poorer districts would not have as adequate defense as those with more money to spend. My guess is that this would have to be a Federal mandate that requires a trained officer or personnel to be present at every school.
We place a lot of responsibilities upon educators already. They are expected to be care givers, teachers, counselors, referees, and now defenders and protectors of our children. When you introduce the element of a psycho maniac attacking children, that just ups the ante and now they are expected to defend and protect our children without a means that really works.
Training teachers how to pull shades down in schools, turn the lights off, and walk kids out in single file lines (depending upon the situation) just isn't enough. So do we start training combination teacher/security officers or do we hire separate staff to stand guard? I'm fine with either solution, really. I just think if you forced teachers into a training program to carry guns, not everyone would go for that who wants to become a teacher. It could potentially narrow down the population of those who want to become teachers because they don’t want to be put in that position, where they have to be focused on simultaneously educating our children while having eyes in the back of their heads to take out trouble. Plus, if you've got someone elderly teaching versus someone younger and more agile, that wouldn't make sense to assume they all would be comfortable and capable of defending children. Hire the big guys with the big guns to protect our kids, I think.
Banning guns doesn’t prevent people from going crazy and killing others. They will just find another means to execute their madness, unless there is a measure put in place to stop them at the front line. Crazy doesn’t rationalize. The only thing that speaks to crazy is the action that if you do this, we’re going to put a bullet in your brain and stop you, period.