As always, we’re a nation of reaction instead of being proactive. And, regrettably, as a nation it seems all of our decisions are politically motivated. Such is the case in response to the horrific shootings in Newtown, Conn. There’s no point in attempting to discuss or second-guess what could have been. Rather how do we move forward to prevent another such act from happening again? The sad truth is, I’m not sure if we can. I was once told that locks were for honest people, and so are guns. Crime and evil exist with no rules.
We attempted to prohibit alcohol and we know the results of that. We have been fighting a war against drugs and we know the results of that, as well; despite all the laws we can buy any kind of drug anywhere at any time and we’ve made criminals millionaires.
Historically it’s been proven that any attempt to stop Americans from having something if they really want it has never worked, and the outcry to ban guns will end up with the same results. Criminals will get guns. They may cost more but the end result will be the creation of more criminal millionaires from black marketing weapons. Our own government was unable to prevent and control the sale of guns to Mexico, so they certainly have no credibility to control sales.
The howl to ban certain guns has some legitimacy but it’s also politically motivated to go after the National Rifle Association, and using tragedies as leverage can be very effective. I’ve long been someone who’s enjoyed guns. And like millions of others who share the hobby, I have never, ever had a glimmer of a thought to shoot someone. A normal mind isn’t wired that way. In all of these horrific instances, the killers were quite literally nut cases. Maybe Adam Lanz couldn’t have done what he did if his mother didn’t own guns. We’ll never know. There’s no question that their availability made it too easy for him, and perhaps that’s where we can begin to be more proactive.
With record gun sales occurring right now there is no way to effectively ban sales six months or a year from now and think the problem is solved. And you can try and stop the sale of ammunition but it’s not difficult to make your own and/or stockpile a large amount of bullets from various sources. The political war is against the NRA and American freedom. And it’s misguided.
If the federal government wants to take control of another facet of American lives then perhaps what needs to be done is provide all gun owners with a gun safe and another law that says you’re required to keep them locked up. Thereby create another expensive agency to make sure the safes are used and, if not, then you’re going to jail where there isn’t room to house you so you’re released with a slap and told to behave.
Or the government sends out the military to collect all the weapons, which would launch a civil war and kill more people in the process than we’re trying to save. Or you can change the Constitution and then confiscate all weapons, except you don’t know where they are and the government doesn’t have the money or the ability to actually pull off any kind of program with any efficiency or success and would fail before it started but you can bet would cost a fortune. My point is you can come up with all kinds of stuff that may or may not make sense.
And as horrible as the Sandy Hook shooting was, do you ever hear outrage about the hundreds of murders going on in Chicago, Oakland and other cities across America? People who barely have enough money to live can still manage to afford to buy those weapons and ammunition and have inner-city fighting killing each other every day. Where is the political outcry about this endless war last year, last month, last week?
The truth is it’s impossible in our society to completely ban guns and we’re literally barking up the wrong tree. And we need to profile regardless of what the American Civil Liberties Union argues. A lot of our problems are because of the ACLU, not the guns. We may rush to judgment on some people, but that’s a small price to pay to prevent another Newtown disaster and it’s better to be safe than sorry. We need to step out of the PC box and do what’s right and use common sense. If teachers and, maybe even children were educated about guns, about mental health and really trained (which has happened and will happen more) in what to do should a gunman enter their school or all public places, we’d be proactive and prepared.
It would also put pressure on a possible shooter knowing he or she may very well be under scrutiny and that it won’t be that easy anymore. And, if school staff went through gun training, were licensed and had access to weapons with the knowledge and skills on how to properly use them, the principal of Sandy Hook might have had a fighting chance to kill or maybe wound Lanza or, if nothing else, chased him off. We have no way of knowing what could have happened but it certainly might have been a different outcome, and perhaps the principal would still be alive and even one child or teacher might have been saved. To have fear of something is usually because we don’t understand it. When it comes to guns, our society has so stigmatized them that many people have simply closed their minds. Education is the best way to diminish fear.
Guns don’t think; they’re an inanimate object that requires a human to pull the trigger. Cars kill more people than guns and they, too, require a human behind the wheel to do that. If someone wants to do harm. they’ll figure out a way. We need to be ready to stop evil and, sadly, the only way may be to coin another cliché and that is to fight fire with fire.
As a compromise, although I’m a staunch gun advocate, I do think tighter controls or an outright ban on automatic rifles would be worth trying. But, we did try it once before and not a thing changed.
— Henry Schulte of Santa Barbara owns and operates Dos Pueblos Ranch. He has been politically active in the community for years. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.