Reducing threat of mass killing
J.G. NASH, Of Cabbages and KingsPredictably (it's happened too many times previously), the most recent, senseless massacre (in a Connecticut grade school) precipitated a flurry of demands to further control guns, along with a rush to buy $200 bullet-proof shield inserts for children's school backpacks. That's misdirected action to treat the effects of a problem, rather than to attempt to eliminate or significantly reduce the causes of the problem in the first place.
Published: December 24, 2012
Published: December 24, 2012
Let's assume that there's a house with defective electric wiring, a plugged up chimney, candles burning next to window curtains, and open-flame space heaters in every room. The risk of fire is very high, so we add a fire escape, while proposing laws forbidding use of electricity and fire.
Wouldn't it make more sense to fix the problems with how we use those things, rather than attempt to protect ourselves against their misuse? To reduce the threat of still more massacres, such as that at the Sandy Hook school, we should be working to eliminate the cause, rather than to protect ourselves from the predictable effect. Guns are not the root cause: we are!
These columns have been pointing that out for about 20 years; now, at long last, it appears that others are beginning to see the light. The reasons why we suffer from a rash of seemingly inexplicable massacres do not include the availability of firearms: here's what they really are.
A destroyed social structure (e.g., religion, mores, customs, traditions, shame).
Failure to quickly identify and appropriately isolate potentially dangerous persons.
An entertainment industry that promotes and inspires killing, mayhem, and massacres.
News media that give front page publicity to acts of blood, gore, and murder.
Instead of treating those underlying causes, which are personally and/or commercially unacceptable to most of us, we propose making fortresses of our schools, with improved locks, armed guards, and armor in children's backpacks. That's like adding fire escapes to that house filled with fire hazards, instead of reducing the risks.
And, if we must fortify our schools, then what about other public places where massacres have taken place? Must we put bothersome and costly airport security measures in place at movie theaters and in malls? Are college students carrying concealed weapons in class an answer? Do postal workers need to go through a full-body scan to gain access to the workplace? Where does that road to nowhere end?
The answer―the only answer―is found in those five underlying causes, which we've listed above.
Trouble is: correcting those fundamental flaws, for which we're all at least somewhat responsible, is a long-term project, with particularly unpleasant personal overtones. Nevertheless we must begin now, today! If we fail to recognize the real problems, and to commit ourselves to attempting to correct them; even if all guns are outlawed, massacres will not only continue, but will indeed increase in numbers and frequency.
Of Cabbages and Kings is a syndicated column by j.g.nash. Relevant comment may be sent to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.