Gun safety taught like we teach sex ed.
Mass shooting have become commonplace. It didn’t take long for me to get there, since the media and politicians want to politicize them (which, as an opportunist, myself, I don’t blame them). And the debate pretty much goes from “We need laws to protect our kids from gun nuts!” to “We need guns to protect ourselves from government nuts!” Here are a few bullet points on the matter:
- Unfortunately, the anti-gun and pro-gun data are both problematic and at a draw. Anyone who has taken a math 101 course knows that statistics shroud so much since the compilers’ definitions of what constitute a “yes” and a “no” can be fudged. For one example, the above anti-gun data says there is a mass shooting almost every day, but they include gang violence and drive-bys—those aren’t at all on the same level as Columbine. For another example, anyone that is looking for pro-safety evidence or pro-self defense evidence can find it, but so can someone with the opposite goal. It’s exhausting.
- Some argue that if we pass more laws on guns then we would have less violence, but meth is illegal and it’s usage is spreading like cancer, right? That sounds reductive, but it’s not; it’s just pithy.
- Suicide has nothing to do with the issue, and we shouldn’t take something so personal and use it when it comes to mass violence. Getting rid of guns will not stop people from committing suicide. It will only make them try other efforts. This argument is insensitive and crudely simplifies the complexity of suicide.
- Guns are to blame for rampage shootings just as much as spoons are to blame for obesity. I can eat my feelings when I’m angry just as much as pop off a round.
- Some say that it’s the mentally ill that should just be prevented from getting guns, but mental health evaluations for gun ownership will not work, and it bothers the heck out of me that conservatives are leaning on this “solution” so heavily; all it will do is drive too much power to the medical field, create a hypersensitivity to “mental illness” and over-diagnose it, forbid good people from defending themselves, and miss crimes of passion that can’t be foreseen via a scheduled doctors appointment.
It’s a fact that innocent people get harmed by good people trying to protect themselves, even if we exclude stray bullets and bystanders, and mass violence doesn’t help the guns rights argument. So, I’ve got a couple of solutions, some that conflict and would have to be chosen between, but that I think will help. Bear with me.
The Second Amendment was written to protect citizens again tyrannical governments. It shouldn’t be taken away. I believe it was made with the intent to empower citizens to have the same strength as armies, which I think is a great idea; yet, it was written when you had to prime a weapon for a whole minute before you could fire. If we applied that Revolutionary War logic to even the Civil War, all citizens should be able to have fully automatic weapons. If we apply it to World War II, citizens should have nukes. Obviously, enabling citizens to do mass damage is not a good idea. Many think that it’s a bad idea to even have semi-automatics that just chamber a single round after one is fired (which is about one per second, and the faster you shoot, the less accurate you get). So what should be the compromise? It’s hard to say. I think that the shear number of firearms we have as Americans, which is about eight for every ten people, is enough to scare off any tyrant or invading force. But what do we do about mass shootings?
- Part of the problem with rampage shooters is that anywhere people gather is bait. Some are random, like the Batman gunman, and some are very specific, like the Oregon college shooter who shot other students for their religion. So, two-fold the solution goes: privatize the crap out of education—liquidate the Department of Education and leave kids to be homeschooled, community schooled, or charter schooled. Not only would they be divided from crowds, remove the anonymity of large classes, but parents would elect what kind of security their kids would have. Higher education should follow suit, and employ roving security guards on their campi.
- People are very divided about guns, and thus some have no respective skill or acumen. Many times, mass shootings take place where people are unarmed, and some of the people in the area, or any area for that matter, would like to be concealed/open carrying, but don’t because they don’t know a thing about firearms. I think the public would be safer not just with more people who have been armed, but with more people who understand weapons. Why couldn’t firearms safety be required in school just like STEM or liberal arts subjects? A conflict resolution discipline that advances in complexity with each grade, which covers verbal resolution, hand-to-hand, weapons-based, and even geo-political. I mean, I don’t like federalized education, but if homeschool and charter schools didn’t work, maybe this? How can we compel everyone to do this? This is wrong to force people to learn about something they may fundamentally disagree! We already do it with sexual education. Many people, conservative or liberal, don’t like that their kids are taught sexuality but still send their kids to school. And can you argue that a kid taught about sex and chooses to abstain is worse off than a kid who isn’t but sees much about it in the media? I think the same applies to kids and guns. Yes, this could very well be like the DARE program, and just make kids curious, and yes, this will be propagandized like sex ed, and I’m sure that similarly parents will have to redirect and correct their children. But it’s better than a culture of fear towards guns.
- A DMV like process for firearms. Cool your jets: I don’t mean that you have to have a license to own, I mean that you have to have a certification, and that’s it. It would be like Selective Service, and you just to have to pass the test and then go on your merry way. It would be open to anyone six years old and up. Just like driving a car, which is way more common and dangerous than a firearm, you would need to study or take a course, and then pass a written exam as well as a physical test. I don’t think this is far off from Sweden compulsory military servitude, since they train all their citizens and then allow them to keep their issued firearms in their home. The difference would be that US citizens wouldn’t be issued anything, they would just be trained. You don’t have to have a gun, you just need to know how to use one.
I’m rushed to finish this. I’ll likely edit it later. Forgive the typos and grammatical errors.
For my own benefit and yours, here are more links to relevant articles.
I recently saw a pithy epithet: “Armed sheep aren’t sheepdogs. They’re sheep with guns.” Unfortunately, it’s unattributed.