Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Guns! Guns! Guns! You Must Own a Gun!

Twenty-plus years ago, Kennesaw, Georgia became the first city in the US to mandate gun ownership. All citizens were required to own a firearm and ammunition. Of course, as with all things in the US, there were exemptions because of religion.

"That image of Kennesaw is also exaggerated, said Graydon (Lt. KPD). He credits police work and community cooperation with achieving a crime rate that compares well with the city’s neighbors. He also debunked an oft-repeated claim that the community has had no homicides in 30 years. It’s had nine, fewer than half involving guns, he said."

This is a quote from an article by Margaret Newkirk, December 21, 2012

Presently there are least two other towns in the processing of passing a similar law. How did all of this happen?
Yes, it all started after the murder of children and teachers in Newtown. We the citizens demanded that something happen to ensure the safety of our citizens and especially our children. Most politicians got involved along with the President. Immediately there was the call to ban all assault weapons, weapons similar to the ones used in the Newtown killings and the murders in the movie theater in Colorado.
Some cities are now talking about arming teachers and having police officers in all schools.
But, are these the answers? Will arming all citizens, having police in schools, arming teachers, and no longer allowing citizens to buy assault weapons solve the problems and prevent mass murders?
Of course not.
So, what do I know that they don't know? Most likely nothing. However, if you take a look at these murders it would seem that nothing, well almost nothing, could have prevented them. Though I am surely not saying we should sit on the sidelines and say, Gosh, we're going to have students killed and that's just the price we pay along with all of the other deaths that we have in our country.
As a society do we have an obligation to try to minimize the deaths of our citizens? Of course. The question is, what do we do?
We have finite resources, both in people and money, so how do we best use those resources to reduce the deaths of our citizens.
Though many would not pose this question, How many children have been murdered in schools over the past twenty years? And, during that same time period, how many of our citizens have died in other ways?
So for instance, lets say over the past twenty years in schools, X number people have died, been murdered, if you will.
Now, during that same time period, let's say that because of Y, 20 times the number of citizens have died or been killed that were killed in schools. If we're trying to maximize the use of our resources in saving the lives of our citizens, it would seem that our resources should be spent on Y.

What would surely help, is to, as best we can, keep guns out of the hands of the people who have the potential to commit these mass murders. I think most of us would agree that most mass murders are committed by people who are mentally ill. So, it would seem the reasonable place to start trying to figure out what to do, would be to start looking at our mental health system and the ways in can, or cannot, respond to try to prevent anymore of these tragedies.

I'll have more to say about this in a future post.


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