First, the real problem

Guns are a symptom; society's decay is the issue

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The White House this week said curbing gun violence is a complex problem requiring a “comprehensive” solution.

But the president immediately moved to appoint a panel on guns.

There may be some changes in gun laws that can help. But it remains that some of the areas of the country most plagued by gun violence have the strictest gun laws. Gun laws in Norway – not exactly the Wild West – were futile in preventing Anders Breivik’s slaughter of 69 at a youth camp last year.

And when New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg insipidly says, “We don’t need people carrying guns in public places,” he is being decidedly un-nuanced. He can say that, and could pass such a law would it not be clearly unconstitutional according to recent Supreme Court rulings, but it begs the question: Would criminals agree? Or only law-abiding citizens?

Way back in 1764, Cesare Beccaria, warned of laws “which forbid to wear arms, disarming those only who are not disposed to commit the crime which the laws mean to prevent.”

We welcome a debate on gun control, as long as it is honest and adheres to reason rather than emotion.

But the laser focus on gun laws may miss the larger target.

The Newtown shooting, as all other massacres and gun deaths, is about so much more than guns. It’s about mental health issues. School security. A culture of self-gratification at nearly any cost. Subcultures that glorify violence and objectify women. Broken homes and births out of wedlock. And more.

It’s so much easier to demonize good Americans who believe deeply in not just the right to bear arms, but the wisdom of it. It’s easier than taking a painful look at lifestyles and behaviors that help lead to violence and cheapened views of human life. It’s easier, for instance, than confronting this country’s negligence of the mentally ill: We rightly ended the practice of wholesale institutionalization long ago, but turned our sisters and brothers out into a society with precious few resources to help them. A quarter of homeless people are believed to have mental illness.

Meanwhile, luminaries in the entertainment industry lament the violence while hypocritically cashing in on movie after movie, video game after video game, featuring gratuitous and ultra-violent images.

There may be some things the government can do. But in a free society, they are extremely limited, and largely ineffectual. In truth, it’s Americans, not their government, who hold the key to creating the peaceful society we want.

We need to walk away from violent imagery. We need to be our brother’s keeper – and when we can’t, we need to alert authorities who can. We need to support community-based mental health programs and organizations. We need to re-evaluate whether our anything-goes sexuality and
mating dances with virtual strangers are healthy – for us, our children or society.

Again, we can tweak the gun laws – but to treat the real problems in American society, we need an exceptionally candid dialogue about the state of American society.

Let’s see a task force on that.

Comments (26) Add comment
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Darby 12/23/12 - 12:39 pm
Let's use just a little common sense.....

Truth, I'm guessing you wouldn't allow your kids to fly on an aircraft where armed sky marshals might be present either. The principle is the same. Right now, innocent kids are vulnerable "sitting ducks" because the nut jobs know they are unprotected. Think about that for a while.

Give a few highly trained and psychologically screened administrators or staff personnel the means to protect our kids. I'm talking about people who are filtered through a well thought and planned program.

The anti-gun crowd would have you think that we pass out guns freely to the "teachers" who jump up and down saying,"LET ME, LET ME, I'LL DO IT".... Good grief...

JustAJoe 12/25/12 - 01:02 am
Good article

That disturbed person that becomes a mass murderer here may become a political radical or something in other countries. That is the difference. What is always left out when people say we need to have armed guards everywhere and to prepare ourselves for a shootout at any moment to be safe is the fact that nowhere else in the world, except Somalia or Afghanistan and the like is this thought or is necessarily. The rest of the world has gun deaths and violence 1/100 or less of ours. The rest of the world has mentally ill and video games and to a large part watches OUR movies. Going further into the Wild Wild West direction that brought us here is not the solution. It is the thinking that a gun is the best or only solution to problems that not only gets us this horrible slaughter and death rate, it is also what gets us into sending troops all over the world to solve problems with guns there also. We have more people in prison by several times than the rest of the world, our military budget is the size of the next 13 combined and we still think we need more. Guns are not the problem - it is our worship and reliance on them that is.

Seriously - Something to think about?

KasparHauser 12/25/12 - 02:41 am
Put Up or Shut Up

Let's see... Every time a child, teacher, aide, etc. is accidentally shot after teachers are forced to carry guns in school we pull a name put of the hat and stand one NRA member up against the wall.

Oh, and every time a teacher or child is killed ANYWAY by a future gun-toting Nutter, we repeat the process, too.

Simple solutions for simpletons.

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