Guns are in the news again. Here are some incontrovertible facts.
- Mass murders committed by young males have become a new phenomenon in American life.
- Individuals who should not be permitted to own a firearm can legally purchase one.
- Many other advanced nations have much lower incidences of mass killings.
- There is no political solution to this issue in sight.
Consider these facts.
- The vast majority of mentally ill Americans will never commit violence.
- Medical ethics and privacy regulations do not permit identifying mentally ill people.
- New or existing laws would not have prevented most or all of these mass killings.
- We have no reliable method to predict a person’s violent potential.
Is this the enemy?
An overall reduction of violence will not be solved by incarceration or gathering up guns. The solution that continues to evade us will be as much from economic social, and educational policies as from our legal response. I am not ‘blaming society’ for the actions of criminals. But, I do believe that the solution will be of societal origin.
I know many gun owners. I understand their passion in protecting their constitutional right to own a firearm. They recoil when gun control advocates pose questions such as, ‘why does one person need so many guns?’ They believe that unfettered gun ownership is their right and it is not for others to limit it. Many of us use the same argument with regard to free speech. Ugly speech and provocative art are protected. Haven't we heard protests against offensive art by those who argue 'why should a museum display this filth'?