Ten Lessons Learned from Sandy Hook
1. We learn there is a place for guns. The principal rushed the gunman, only to be shot down. If she had had a gun, perhaps she would have taken him out.
So, what do we do? Either we encourage more people, such as teachers, to bear guns in places where shootings could happen, or we post guards there. The advantage of having guards is that the presence of them is a deterrent. Yes, the guard becomes a target, and the shooter is aware if he takes out the guard, he can then shoot everyone else at will. Still, a guard is a deterrent, and you can post them behind bullet-proof glass or have them walking around so the shooter does not know where to find them when he or she enters the building.
2. We learn that while the police might not be far away, they can be so far away that the violence will be over by the time they arrive.
Can anything be done to improve on that, to reduce how long it takes for them to arrive? Why not have every police headquarters and substation be coupled with an at-risk site? Have the police station right across from the school, and a substation located right in the mall. Move the police closer to the at-risk sites and it will cut down on the response time and act as a deterrent, to boot. "Location, location, location," someone has said, and we should listen to that advice.
3. We learn video games might have an influence. Adam Lanza was a gamer. Acting out things, it would seem (if we use logic), does increase the likelihood of the person actually doing something.
So, do we outlaw video games? Our society already has age limits on smoking and drinking, and even selling pornography to minors. But, we are no longer the same society we were when we place those laws in effect. This time around, we are hesitant about infringing on freedom. Me? I say slap age restrictions on violent video games. They are bad influences. We commonly do not give children all the rights we give adults. We are trying to raise them and teach them what is right. This, too, should be part of that training.
4. We learn the availability of weapons can lend to the commission of the crime. Adam Lanza lived with his mother. She had a gun stash. She encouraged Adam to have guns.
I do not favor gun bans. Nor are many citizens even calling for bans. But, we should see that availability does increase the opportunity to commit the crime. It would be helpful if those of us who do not need guns, who do not feel threatened, would not be so inclined to own them. This would reduce the risk, somewhat.
5. We learn guns should be locked up. Adam used a gun from his mother's gun collection. Police found no sign of forced entry.
Guns should be locked away by the owners. And, there is reason to suggest that that should include locking them away from some of the family members.
6. We learn to wonder if a single image of death can have an impact on a person. Investigators found in the home the image of what appears to be a dead person covered with plastic and blood. If an image is before a person, day in and day out, can it sometimes have an affect on a person?
What can we do, outlaw all violent pictures parents might post on their walls? Hardly, but public television spots might prompt parents to reconsider whether they hang such things on their walls.
7. We learn the glorification of weaponry, also, might impact a person. Investigators found a 7-foot pole with a blade on one side and a spear on the other. It is not likely such an item had much use, but was there simply for the novelty of having it.
Again, we cannot and should not ban parents from having such things in the home. Perhaps even a television spot discouraging owning such items would come off as overbearing. Still, it would be wonderful if parents realized the downside of glamorizing such things.
8. We learn that rapid-fire weapons facilitate mass shootings. If he had had to place bullets in the gun one at a time, he probably would have killed few, at all. For one thing, there would have been opportunity for someone to rush him while he was reloading.
Some have suggested there be a limit on the number of bullets in a magazine. Perhaps I would go along with that if we changed our Constitution. The Second Amendment says we should not infringe on the right to keep and bear arms and I feel that an infringement. Also, if we view guns as a weapon of war that each citizen should have in case they need to fight against an invading nation, or against their own government gone awry, then we shouldn't restrict magazine capacity.
Some have also suggested we outlaw assault weapons. I have never fully understood this. If it is the semi-automatic nature of the weapon that causes the problem, then isn't that what we should be wanting to outlaw? Again, though, that is an infringement on the Constitution. And, again, if people view the gun as a defense against government . . .
9. We learn some of those who have mental problems are dangerous.
I do not favor banning guns from those who have mental disabilities. I believe the way this would be enforced is that anyone who is on medications (all medications for mental disorders?) would not be allowed to buy a gun. That is a ban. That is also taking guns from some people who are perfectly harmless and non-threatening. Not everyone who buys Prozac is dangerous. So, what do we do, to take guns out of the hands of those who are mentally unstable? I suppose I can think of nothing more than to encourage family members to monitor such situations, and that is a sobering thought to me.
10. We learn that if you try to regulate guns, you are going to have a backlash. "You won't get my gun unless you pry it from my cold, dead fingers." Any move to regulate guns is seen as an affront to the Second Amendment.
What to do? People can be taught that not everyone needs a gun. They can be taught that if they don't need it, and don't perceive the need arising that they will need it, then they might want to consider not owning a gun. Public opinion does sway, as the current debate over same-sex marriage shows us.