Gun control: A different form of insanity
We’ve heard the old saying: "Do something even if it’s wrong!" Well, it might not be wrong. It just might work. But how about: "Do something, even if you know it won’t work?"
If you stack up all the statistics gathered around world and in the United States about the workability of gun-control legislation, you find over and over again, that gun-control -- no matter how well intended --does not keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of the criminally insane -- the people who do most of these mass killings. (Please note: Most of the insane are not criminals. Maybe they are like some legislators: Doing the exact same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?)
In the wake of the mass killings carried out by the criminally insane, the urge for legislators to "do something" is understandable. But legislators find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place. Deep down, some of them may understand the need to identify the criminally insane and the need to keep dangerous weapons out of their hands.
But any legislation that would force the mental-health industry, mental hospitals, and mental clinics to divulge information about their patients will be vigorously opposed by the ACLU and the entire personal-privacy lobby. Legislators would find themselves engaged in a long and difficult battle with no guarantee of success. Campaign funds from the Left and the Right might dry up.
What legislators could do is free up some money for local school boards to improve school physical security, to hire weapons-trained security personnel, to limit ingress and egress points, to buy magnetometers, to put up signage that says: "Lethal force will be used to protect our children." They could encourage local police officers to fill out routine paperwork on school property, to park off-duty police cruisers near school entrances. Those are all proven deterrents to violence; however, it is difficult to take credit for the work of others.
Local schools are controlled by local school boards. Local police are controlled by their local political subdivisions. So, to appear to "do something," for which they could take full credit, some legislators attack the 2d Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners. After all, there are always those who don’t like guns, period.
But, at some level, they have to know that attacking a constitutional right won’t get them very far. So, in the end, unless the locals decide to do some of the positive steps outlined above, nothing meaningful gets done to protect school children from insane mass killers. Not to worry. Lawmakers can tell their constituents that they tried to "do something."
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.
©2013. William Hamilton.
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