Friday, February 23, 2018

The Ceiling is the Answer

   Thought more about the high-tech answers to mass shootings, such as having a robocop chase the criminal down. Decided it is possible he might be a little too expensive for our schools.
   But, I wonder if having the defense system throughout the ceiling might be much less expensive, and perhaps even better, anyway. Robocop would have to chase the active shooter down before taking the gun from him. If, on the other hand, a mechanical arm simply stretched out from the ceiling above -- just feet away and therefore within quick reach -- the armed shooter would be stopped quicker.
   So, here is what you do: You place sensors in the ceiling, sensors that determine when gun shots are fired. As soon as the sensors determine the gunfire, a mechanical arm comes down out of the ceiling and grabs the gun from the assailant, and captures the assailant, himself.
   Seconds into the shooting, the shooting is over.
    Ceilings would no longer be covered with drywall. The mechanical arms would be open and visible and ready to activate without having to wait for an opening in the ceiling. There would be a mechanical arm in the ceiling every few yards, so that when the sensors sensed the gunfire, that mechanical arm that was right over the shooter would be the one that reached down to stop the shooter.
   I do not know if such a system could be developed at an affordable price. But, I like to think so.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Of Metal Shields and Cylinders to Protect from Active Shooters

   What if we had metal shields that came down in the classrooms, protecting our children? When those in the class learned a shooter was in the building, they rushed to the side of the room, the teacher pushed a button, and up came a metal shield, a metal wall, rising from floor to the ceiling.
   A simpler idea would be to have each room be able to be locked down, with metal doors. So, if you heard a shooter was in the building, you pushed a button and the room locked the live shooter out. And, line the walls with metal, so the shooter could not shoot through the walls.
  Or, what if all public buildings had cylinders that went up from the floor at moment's notice. Say, as a shopper is in the electronics department when a shot is fired elsewhere in the store. A large, always-lit sign lets him know where the cylinder is and where the button is to activate it. So, he hears a shot and urges everyone in the electronics department to join him and up goes the protective metal cylinder.
   There would be a lot of misuse of the cylinder, for sure. But, I still like the idea.
    What if you had metal walls that rose in the middle of the classroom, not just along the walls? So, the shooter is actually in the room, but you can still throw up a wall to separate yourself from him.

Could Robots Protect Our Children?

   Would it be reasonable to have robots protecting our school children? Could we have a robot capable of sensing gunfire, and following it to its source, where it takes the gun from the assailant and pins him down till the police arrive?
   Make it so the robot can either be turned off when the police arrive, or can be notified not to go after them. And, what if the robot goes after someone on the scene who is attempting to bring down the live shooter? Have it so the robot covers whoever he catches with a metal blanket, thus protecting him from the assailant if the wrong person is captured.

To Catch the Criminals, Register Guns

   If we want to be able to track down criminal gun trade, we should register guns. If we want to be able to prosecute a person who sells a weapon to a convict, we need to be able to trace the sale.
   I see no harm in registering guns. It doesn't restrict a person's right to own a gun, if that is what you  are worried about. But, the benefit is significant: Being able to trace who sold or gave the weapon to a criminal is significant.
   I realize criminals could scrape the metal clean of the registration numbers. So, make it as difficult as possible for them to do so. Place the registration number down the gun barrel, where it is hard to erase. 

Romney Suggested States take Up the Issue, but Legislature is Silent

   Mitt Romney suggested guns should be an issue for states to settle, rather than a matter left to the federal government to come up with all the answers.
   And, I might have heard Gov. Gary Herbert agree with him, and suggest that people are wanting government to do something.
   So, what is being done, by Utah? Don't let it go unnoticed that while all this is going on, the Utah Legislature is in session. If we are to come up with Utah answers, this would be the moment. Where are they? If Utah, in the wake of the Parkland shooting, is reflecting on how to defend its children, and its people, the Legislature is strangely silent.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Why do Years Roll Away Without Universal Background Checks?

  President Trump is calling for better background checks. It is time, then, to squeeze him for complete, universal checks. No gun should be sold without a background check. None, at least none that we can catch.  Any sale without a check should be an illegal sale, subject to prosecution.
   Currently, all gun dealers are required to run background checks, but those who are not gun dealers, per se, are allowed to sell without doing the checks.
   This should not be. If there is value in the checks, there shouldn't be loopholes.
   When private parties make sales, they should go online and run background checks. And, if they have any question as to how to do it, they should be encouraged to go to the local sheriff's office, where officials will help them.
  And, we need help in ferreting out sales going unreported. If you are aware of a sale, you should be required by law to report it. We should have an if-you-see-something-say-something law. If you know a convict has a gun, you should report it. Lives are at stake.
   The students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, are demanding changes, demanding action, demanding that America and politicians do something. This is something that can be done, and should be done, post haste. If we have an imperfect background-checking system, why would we not want to perfect it? We have seen the flaw in our system for years -- for decades. What are we waiting for? Politicians, quit sitting on your hands, and do something.

Terroristic Threats and Idle Threats

   Nikolas Cruz, who shot up the school in Parkland, Florida had said he was going to become a professional shooter. Surely that is a terroristic threat.
   And, one that should be taken seriously.
   As we discuss whether people should be arrested for making threats against other people's lives and health and well-being, though, it becomes apparent many of us make idle threats. Are we going to haul someone off to jail every time they say, "I'm going to kill you"?
   I think you make a distinction, when you can. You specify in your law that if the threat can be taken seriously, then you prosecute.
   I do, also, believe there is danger in such idle threats. How often has someone said, "I wish he were dead" and another person has said, "Oh, you do not," and the person has responded, sincerely, "Oh, yes, I do." Such a statement is a sincere expression, a sincere wish, though it is not likely to be something the person would act on. He or she wouldn't take another person's life just because they wished them dead. But, again, there is in such a statement the seed of what does become -- not usually and not often, but it does happen. There will be, indeed, times that such a statement grows in a person and the person does reach a point of considering ways to end another person's life.
   So, such statements are not healthy. And, discouraging them is the right thing to do. Yes, make the law state that there must be reason to believe the threat could be carried out. Still, whenever the idle threat is investigated -- and no charges are filed -- suggest to the person an alternative feeling, suggest that it is not that they want that person to die, but rather that they just want that person away from them and out of their life.
   And, whenever a threat was intended, or could be taken to have been serious, the person making the threat should be prosecuted.