Sunday, December 6, 2015

A Growing level of Insanity

When we are talking about solutions to issues, it's good to consider how a solution could play out. Do a "what if" exercise.
One of the solutions to our increased massive gun violence problem proposes that more guns would solve it. In this scenario it's proposed that more "good guys" carrying weapons would increase the likelihood that a "bad guy" could be stopped before they could do massive damage.
So, I try to imagine how this might play out in a real situation. Let's pretend a situation breaks out in a very large store, shopping mall or heavily populated street with 5000 people. 500 of the people are carrying weapons. Suddenly gun fire breaks out. All 500 draw their weapons and turn to - head toward the gun fire. Now what?
Are all 500 people going to hold fire until they know who the "bad guy" is? Is it possible some will just start shooting? Even if just one starts shooting, it's likely to cause mass chaos.
The police arrive and find hundreds of people with guns. Now what?
There is a reason police and military personnel train extensively. It goes far beyond being able to handle a weapon. It's about making good decisions in very bad, confusing situations.
As well meaning as I'm sure many gun packing folks are, they are assuming a huge responsibility that they can make good decisions. I don't have nearly as much confidence that they can as they would expect. More guns out and about in our communities creates greater danger and liability. Guns don't come with "good guy - bad guy" detectors. There have to better answers. This one is not rational or reasonable. 
After the horror of 9/11, we were willing to concede to airports having strict screening for all flights. We take off our shoes, remove our laptops and limit what we carry onto a plane. We go to the airport extra early knowing we will wait in possible long lines for pre-flight screening. We are willing to do that because some knucklehead might want to cause horrible destruction. We sacrifice millions of dollars in an effort to prevent such things.
Meanwhile gun ownership is considered, by a very powerful minority, to be so sacred that nothing can be done to curtail it any way. Last week a bill was voted down in Congress. It would have prevented anyone on the terrorist watch list from legally purchasing a gun. It would have limited the sale of assault weapons. It would have required a background check for anyone to purchase a gun.  Those sound very rational and reasonable to me.
Some argue that these restrictions will not stop bad guys from getting guns. That is true. Drunk driving laws don't stop everyone from driving drunk. Taking away someone's driver's license doesn't guarantee that they won't drive. Would anyone propose that we eliminate these attempts to curb it?
We have a huge gun violence problem in this country. It's getting worse and worse. To those arguing against any efforts to try to DO something, what's your solution? Certainly you don't believe we need to just accept it and all arm ourselves in a heroic belief that we can become a protective militia.
Maybe we spent too much of our childhoods watching wild west movies.
Misguided fears are driving this country to a very frightening level of insanity. The underlying fear seems to be that someone is in the shadows trying to take away your guns. That fear is so great that any attempt to keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn't have them is a threat. The crazy part is that most of these people are law abiding gun owners who passed a background check to purchase their guns.
Am I missing something? Are there more people than I believe who have guns that are not registered or feel a need to stockpile unregistered weapons including assault weapons? If so, that's a frightening thought. Those are the people I fear. A bunch of paranoid, trigger happy people with stockpiles of unregistered weapons poses a more real and present danger than a potential secret government plot to confiscate weapons. That would be a sign of a growing level of insanity.
We need to change our mindset. We need to get a grip and learn to distinguish between real threats and fear based hysteria. Until we do, nothing will be solved. We'll just keep talking about what can't be done. There's a pile of CAN'T and WON'T going on in this country and it's destroying us.

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