Wednesday, May 25, 2022

A Modest Proposal

Parents in Uvalde, Texas, waiting for the dead to be identified (CNN)
Salvador Ramos was not denied his second amendment rights. I’m sure that all the gun rights advocates in this country are pleased  to hear that. 18 year old Ramos was able to walk into a gun store in Uvalde, Texas and buy 2 assault weapons and a hand gun legally. The fact that he used those guns to kill his grandmother, 19 elementary school students and 2 teachers is besides the point. The point is that Ramos’ constitutional rights were freely exercised without any impediment. Hooray for us!

I suspect that even the gun lobby might not go that far. But at the same time there is not a doubt in my mind that they are actually happy that Ramos, an18 year old with no history of violence was able to buy his guns legally.

Well, I am not happy about that. I am outraged that an 18 year old was able to buy guns so freely and then went about shooting 21 people, 19 of whom were 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders while they were sitting in their seats in the classroom.

Imagine sending your own kids off to school yesterday and then hearing about a shooting there where 19 young students were shot and killed.  And suddenly wondering if your child was among them; waiting all night to find that he or she was. To be honest, my mind won't let me go there. I have a mental block that does not allow me to think those thoughts. It would be painful beyond words to even imagine it!

To say I am sick and tired of the carnage the gun lobby is at least partially responsible for, is an understatement. I’ve said it so many times after mass murders like this that I stopped counting.

Now as I've said many times, my politics run conservative most of the time. But on this issue I side with the liberals. In fact I am even more to the left than they are. If it were up to me, I would repeal the 2nd Amendment. There is absolutely no reason that the average citizen should own a gun. The fact that they can – and can so easily obtain one is part of the problem. 

What about the argument that people should be allowed to protect themselves with those weapons – if they are ever attacked? 

That is what law enforcement is for. And that argument does not hold much water anyway since in countries where guns are outlawed there are far fewer murders than there are here. Just to compare the US to a civilized country where guns are outlawed, we had 20,982 murders in 2020.  England had 726 in 2017.  

In 2018 CNN reported that the US has had 57 times as many school shootings as the other major industrialized nations combined! And since 2018 there have been 119 school shootings in the US, by far more than any other industrialized country!

So anyone that wants to argue that the second amendment saves lives ought to have his head examined. If we could do what England does, that would  save lives.

I have often said that the US is the greatest country in the world. I still feel that way. But in this respect, we are among the worst! 

That being said, I realize that repealing the second amendment is never going to happen. I also realize that even if it were repealed, that would not prevent a mass shooting like this from happening again. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have sensible legislation to substantially curb the numbers. 

I am not going to get into the details of what that legislation might look like. But surely assault weapons should be completely banned. And buying a gun should without exception include massive background checks to insure as best as possible the mental state of the potential buyer and to see whether they have a criminal record.

I do, however, agree with the premise that if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. But the answer is not to arm the public. The answer is better law enforcement and reforming the criminal justice system. 

For example, any crime committed with a gun should have automatic jail time. Suspects ought to be remanded to prison without bail. A speedy trial should ensue and if found guilty pay for it with a lengthy prison sentence. No exceptions. Revolving door ‘justice’ must end!

And another thing. Law enforcement needs more support to do a better job protecting us. Especially in areas where there tends to be large gatherings of people. Especially in schools (both private and public), churches, and synagogues. 

There are tons of guns already out there. Passing anti gun laws will not eliminate most of those. There will always be people out there that will use them for nefarious purposes. That is where better law enforcement comes in. 

But what should never happen is what happened yesterday in Uvalde. Every school church and synagogue  should have what every flight has: a ‘sky marshal’. These are federal agents specially trained to take action should there be an terror related incident on board a flight. Every school should have one of those too. (I would just change the name to something like ‘school marshal’). These agents should be supplied by the federal government at no charge to the institution they are protecting. 

They ought to be armed and stationed at the door that is the only entry point to the school, church, or synagogue. Metal detectors should be installed. And if there is any question about whether someone is armed, they should be frisked. Schools should not allow anyone into the building that has not been fully examined for weaponry.  

This may sound a bit like ‘1984’. But at this point what choice to we have? How many more school shootings must there be before we do something about it?  That is the least the government can do in the world in which we now live. 

Another thing that needs to be dealt with is bullying. That has more than once been the motive behind a mass shooting by a young person. There has been speculation that the shooter in this case was someone that was bullied all of his life. 

The emotional toll this takes on a young person must be devastating. Many teen suicides have been attributed to bullying. So too have some of these mass shootings by young people. Imagine the despair and anger toward the world someone like this might feel that makes them do something like this! 

True, it’s irrational to blame everyone in the world for what someone bullied all his life has gone through among his peers. But a shooter like this is not a rational being anymore. In a state of anger and despair, he might just want to lash out at the whole world in any way he can – by killing as many people as he can. And then killing himself - or be killed in a battle with police as was the case here.

Bullying is something that should never be tolerated. If it is in any way detected it must be nipped in the bud by whatever means necessary. Whether it be psychological counseling of the bullies and/or severe sanctions when bullies are caught doing it. All social media of young people needs to be monitored by parents. By school mandate if parents don’t do it voluntarily. The privacy rights of young people pale in comparison to the psychological damage these bullies can do to their peers online.

Last but certainly not least, I believe that in some of these cases it is pure psychopathy at work. A desire by a psychopath to be remembered for the rest of all time by doing something like this and then having his name and picture plastered on the front pages of every major newspaper and TV screen all over the world.  The more it happens, the more incentive there is for the next guy to do the same thing. It is the easiest way for an armed psychopath to get that kind of recognition. 

That ought to end. From now on, should anything like this God forbid, happen again, the name of the shooter and his picture ought to never see the light of day. That ought to be the law of the land. And made as pubic as possible so that they know the notoriety they seek in committing a mass murder will never happen. 

I realize that this is all a pipe dream. And that a lot of these suggestions (if not all of them) will never be implemented. But the US would sure would be a better and safer country if they would.