The debate rages on. We are a combative, competitive society that remains politically polarized. Americans thrive on disagreement and are quick to find a “side” on virtually every issue that is imaginable. Disagreement, intelligent argument and discussion, when time permits, makes us stronger. There are few issues today that evoke the emotion that guns do, and it would serve little purpose to attempt a justification of my personal views on the subject. Both supporters of gun rights and gun controllers are well armed in this debate, and I suspect the voting booth is where this matter will play out, as the issue, like so many others, has become a hot political topic. A thorough analysis of the argument cannot be accomplished in a simple blog. The real question today, while the argument rages on, is what do we do to protect our children from the actions of the sociopaths that walk among us.
In the early 90’s, I was tasked with representing the Highway Patrol and the views of many police agencies in Missouri, in a debate with the NRA relative to the merits of concealed carry legislation being considered in our state. We had little empirical evidence to support our position other than a fear of the mayhem that was sure to ensue if we put concealed guns in the hands of our citizenry. This debate was held at Boy’s State, and the winner was to be determined by the reaction of the young men in attendance. Our position prevailed, but the point was won by attacking the premise of the NRA that American’s were responsible folks who could be counted upon to carry safely. Their position was not backed by strong, definitive evidence, either. We, the police, were wrong. The legislation became law, and our fears did not materialize. There was no bloodbath in our streets and the matter of concealed carry slipped into a coma, where it resides today. This slumber has recently been interrupted by a series of horrible killings in our schools, churches and public venues, placing the matter of guns back on the front burner and threatening the gun culture yet again. This time the debate rages around the magazine capacities and style of firearms being employed by the sociopaths to go about their cold blooded business. These firearms, so called “black rifles” or “assault rifles”, are terribly efficient, whether it be on the range, in military action, while hunting or in the hands of a cold, sociopathic killer. They are designed to be utilitarian, reliable, relatively accurate platforms for various scopes, sighting devices, silencers, and lighting devices. They are also lightning rods…..
Back to my original premise. Until this debate is settled, we need to take decisive action to at least mitigate the possibility of future sociopathic assaults on our society. As a past police administrator, I am amazed that we have not experienced more mass casualty assaults on our folks. There are just too many opportunities for people, who have slipped the bounds of reality, to work their deadly inclinations. This is where I offer strong opinion relative to the safety of our children. Why do military installations fence their property and carefully control access through armed checkpoints? Why do federal courthouses carefully control access and screen folks coming into their buildings? Why does Mr. Trump want to build a wall? Why do “gated neighborhoods” employ controlled access to their fenced neighborhoods? This past summer, Sharon and I were denied access to a large RV show until such time as I made the trip back to our truck to leave my folding knife and her purse was searched! The aforementioned properties seek to DENY access to folks that have not been vetted, a perfectly reasonable response to the problem of security. Even sociopaths will find it difficult to kill if they are denied access to their intended victims. Trained, armed folks on the premises are a great adjunct to the concept of carefully controlled access, but denying access should be job one. The expense attendant to the installation of fences and controlled access points are mitigated over time, and when paired with a properly trained and armed security presence, should prove cost effective….as if cost is important relative to the protection of our children.
Knee jerking, finger pointing verbiage is not going to address our immediate concern. This debate has gone on for a long time and there is no end in sight. The media has reported the latest killer pulled a fire alarm to increase the availability of targets, signaling an ever increasing sophistication on the part of these very sick individuals. Whether it be a black rifle or a pressure cooker full of explosives and nails, if the miscreant can’t get to his target, we win……..it really is that simple.