Tuesday, December 18, 2012
In the wake of the CT shootings, there's been a lot of talk about gun control. I'm surprised we've gone this long and no one's mentioned video games yet. (UPDATE: I wrote too soon. Thanks Fox News. Stay classy.) I see a lot of people calling for action, but not a lot of viable solutions proposed (mostly people saying the 2nd amendment has become obsolete, ban all guns, gun control is a joke, disband the NRA and their lobbying ways, etc.). There's a solution I've thought of that's viable for everyone. It minimizes the possibility of a high body count due to someone mentally ill going Columbine and keeps the second amendment intact for everyone. We don't need to ban guns. In fact, everyone who wants one can get a gun.
You get one gun. Ever. (And it's obviously not free, you have to pay for it). If it doesn't work, you can trade it in, like a video game. Reasons to own a gun include A) hunting B) home self-defense. For those, you only ever need one gun. A person can only hold one gun at a time anyway. And in those incidents, you're only ever going to need one.
One gun per person. For all time. And that gun is registered to you -- no filing serial numbers off. Your gun is always yours and you are responsible for it. If someone else fires your gun, that's a paddlin'. It'd be great if you could DNA encode it so only you can fire it. I think that technology might be here already, but it might be expensive.
That fulfills the second amendment (or interpretation of it). Everyone gets the right to bear arms, if they want to. And if you've got enough people with guns, you should be able to form a militia.
Of course, there's a remaining question: if you can only have one gun, which gun should it be? That's a good question, and keep in mind, all I really know about guns is what I've learned from video games. If you're a hunter, I guess you can pick a hunting gun. Maybe you want your spouse to have the self-defense gun. Now self-defense, I figure you can pick one of two. Either a basic, reliable handgun, like a glock (or whatever cops recommend). Or you can use a pump-action shotgun.
This is from Adam Carolla, featured in his book "In Fifty Years, We'll All Be Chicks". This is his philosophy of self-defense, but I'm repeating it here, because it's interesting. He proposes that the only gun you ever need is a pump-action shotgun. When you hear that click, you know whoever's home you're invading means business. For extra intimidation, the first round is a blank. If the guy still calls your bluff, then the second round is rock salt. It's non-lethal, but should make an impact, assuming he's not wearing body armor. If the guy (or guys) continue to attempt intrusion after that, then "whoever it is is hell-bent on hurting me or my family, and the rest of the rounds are live." I think that's fair enough for self-defense.
If you want to hunt, you can either use the gun you have or maybe you can rent a gun, like bowling shoes. I understand target shooting can be a fun sport. No problem with that. But there are certain guns you target shoot with and assault rifles aren't one of them.
If you want them for historical reasons or mechanical reasons, they must be decommissioned, or somehow made inactive (I don't know how guns work, sorry. I assume they don't have batteries). I'm not too worried about these because A) they're old and probably don't work B) anyone interested in them for these reasons is not likely to shoot up a school.
Some people say there's no reason to regulate guns, because people who want one will get one. You're just creating a black market for it. There's a black market for C4 and snuff films too, doesn't mean people are blowing up malls or watching murder on the cineplex. It's the not the issue of "I can get a gun: Y/N", it's the ease of getting one. Before Napster, getting free music was hard. You had to trade cassette tapes, CDs. You had to tape off the radio with some DJ yakking in front or back of the song. You had to hold a tape recorder up to the TV. And the quality was awful. Now we've got torrents and direct connects, and it's damn easy. The easier it is to do, the more people will do it.
Now this topic is all about gun control, but in my opinion, I think the bigger and less controversial problem is dealing with the mentally ill. I have a brother-in-law doctor who's been saying there's been problems with mentally ill since before 2000. I've seen 20/20 news features where mentally ill are simply put back on the streets because there's no room for them. I know mental illness is impossible to measure, so it's not an exact science, hence the new edition of the DSM-IV that everyone's in arms about (it eliminates Asperger's, and there are about 500 types of autism). It's not that these people can't be identified, it's that the help they need isn't being provided. I shudder to think what I'd be like without my medication.