For the Narcissist Lover in You…

The Best Solution: More Guns! (And Less Guns!)

I’ll be blunt: if you are the sort of person who thinks gun control is going to fix the issue of crazy sick people killing other people, you are, and I mean this as respectfully as possible, a self-deluded simpleton.

If, on the other hand, you think that more guns in the hands of anybody and everybody is going to prevent deadly rampages by psychos, you are missing the point entirely and possibly contributing to an environment of cultural stalemate over extremely important issues.

Guns aren’t the problem.

If that statement leaves you staring at the screen with breathless apoplexy, I’ll throw you this bone: guns aren’t the solution, either.

And the fact is, we all know this.  We just refuse to admit it to ourselves.  As a society, we are obsessed with how the gun got into the killer’s hand, because it lets us off the hook for how the murder got into the killer’s heart.

We humans are just a bunch of lazy, knee-jerk, reactionary people, always looking for the quick, feelgood solution. Guns provide that, regardless of which side of the debate you fall on.

The problem of tragic killings is guns in the same way that the problem of obesity is forks.

Every day in America, approximately ninety people are killed in car accidents.  Few people get riled up in debates about how cars should be banned (“no cars means no car-related deaths!  Doih!”) or how there should be even more cars on the road (“big motherlovin’ SUVs to get between those crazy, deadly drivers and their innocent motorist victims!”).

Why not?

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Both the problem and the solution.

Because that would be plainly idiotic.  We all know that cars aren’t murderers.  Cars are tools, and the tools occasionally get used by careless, drunk or otherwise just plain stupid people.

Neither the problem of– nor the solution to– mass killings is the weapon.  The largest school killing in America was implemented with dynamite.  Guns couldn’t have fixed that one way or another.  On the same day that Newtown happened, a psycho attacked 22 school children in China with a knife.  Gun control doesn’t affect the availability of knives.  Or box cutters, for that matter, the weapon of choice of the 9-11 hijackers.

The problem is a deeply fundamental psycho-cultural trend that I have discussed, briefly, elsewhere (the comments are actually better than the original post, which was, admittedly, fairly emotional).  But there’s more to it than that.  The problem is that psychologically broken people happen.  For the most part, the rest of us still don’t quite know how to manage them.  We have a long way to go, both in terms of how our culture irresponsibly foments mental illness via creeping nihilism (nothing matters) and postmodernism (nothing is true), and by how we diagnose and treat people with potentially dangerous (to themselves and others) mental issues.

But we won’t address either of those root issues as long as we get stuck, conveniently and willingly, on the easier feel-good issue of guns.

So OK.  Let’s start with that.  Because I have an idea that as much as we all like to fight about it, most of us are really not that different on this issue, if we’re honest.

The Solution is MORE GUNS.

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All right, with one caveat: more guns in the hands of the right people.  Who are those people?  Besides the obvious (cops, professional security, the Punisher), the right people are, quite simply, sane people who are responsible and competent.  Examples?  How about Democrat Senate Majority leader Harry Reid:

“…as some of you know during my time being Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission, I had a lot of bad people after me and I carried a gun every place I went. So I know what a gun and self-defense is.”

And long-time gun control advocate, Senator Diane Feinstein:

“I know the sense of helplessness that people feel. I know the urge to arm yourself because that’s what I did. I was trained in firearms… I made the determination that if somebody was going to try to take me out, I was going to take them with me.”

For even my most ardent anti-gun friends, would you feel threatened to be in a room with either of these two, knowing they may well have a loaded gun on their person?  Would you fear that, somehow, the gun would fill them with an overwhelming bloodlust and they would, for no reason other than the sheer, unadulterated hell of it, draw their weapon and start capping everyone in sight?

Of course not (and for those who said yes to that question– because I know a very few of you actually did– you have the exact opposite kind of crazy as the Newtown killer.  And no, that’s not a joke).

More guns in the hands of sane, reasonable, responsible people is not a bad thing.  Because the gun is a tool, as both Harry Reid and Diane Feinstein just explained, and a tool in the hand of someone who knows how to use it well is a beautiful, productive, and occasionally necessary thing.

ImageBoth Reid and Feinstein are strong proponents of gun control.  And even they know that a weapon in the hand of the right people is a good thing.

If they believe that, I suspect that most of the rest of us– even the harshest of gun critics– can as well.

The Solution is LESS GUNS!

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Seriously, find me a person who doesn’t think that things might have turned out a bit better if, at the last moment, someone had stepped up to the Newtown killer and plucked the guns away from him.  See?  We all agree, then, that in specific situations, less guns fixes the problem.

The Newtown killer wasn’t a super-villain.  He was a pathetic, mentally cracked little man.  Without a weapon in his sick, weak hand, he could have been taken down by almost anyone in the school.  Thus, less guns would have fixed the problem.

Specifically, less guns in the hands of sick, unstable people.  We can all pretty much agree on that, right?  With no reservation, no hesitation, no quibbling.  Dangerous, unstable, mentally ill people just shouldn’t be getting their hands on guns.

Of course, the question is: how do we accomplish that without limiting guns to the people in the sick person’s general vicinity?  After all, sick people will just steal those guns.

You know, we are not (in general) stupid people.  I bet we can come up with a solution to that.  For instance, if people with potentially dangerous mental illnesses were registered and treated openly before such tragedies could occur (the Newtown killer’s mother knew well in advance that her son was a danger to himself and others), then we, as a society, might have had some legitimate reason to say, when she came looking to purchase weapons and train her son in their use, “you know, not so much!  Sorry!  No guns for you!”

Image“Here.  Have fun.”

Which brings us back to the real problems.  The problems aren’t guns.  The solution isn’t guns.  The issue is that we are all too fractured, too self-obsessed, and too mentally lazy to address and fix the real root of these sorts of tragedies.  How can we consider making a medical record of people with potentially dangerous mental illness when the very suggestion that certain mental conditions might contribute to deadly tragedies results in a shrill outcry of offended “advocates”?

We are so obsessed with being victims that we cannot tolerate the fact that certain factors that some of us may share– and deal with in a perfectly healthy manner– could, in a less stable person, contribute to a dangerous “perfect storm” of psychotic potential.

We refuse to move mountains for fear of offending pebbles.

Thus, there is no way to legitimately create the sort of medical record safety net that could offer weapons sellers the information they’d require to keep guns out of the vicinity of potentially dangerous individuals.

To my gun rights friends who object to the idea that someone might be denied gun ownership because of their familial proximity to a potentially unstable person: yours is a losing, foolish, and frankly irresponsible battle.  Remember?  We all agree that less guns in the hands of unstable people is a good thing.  Sure, YOU might be responsible enough to keep the gun out of that unstable family member’s hand.  But other people might not.  The Newtown killer’s mother didn’t, and she paid the price, along with all too many others.

And for my friends who are impassioned advocates of gun control but abhor the idea that mentally unstable people should be registered and treated, proactively and humanely, for their own good and the good of others: we simply cannot afford to be polyanna about the root causes of these tragedies.  The key is not to take the weapons away from everyone else.  The key is to take the weapon out of the heart of the unstable person.

If we don’t face this, we are fools.  We are simpletons trying to prevent beatings by hiding all the sticks.  Killers are inventive.  Just look down through history.  Humans will find ways to kill other humans.  Arguing about the weapon in their hand is just stupid.

It’s lazy.

It’s irresponsible.

And let’s face it, we all really do agree a lot more than we want to admit.  Less weapons in the hands of killers, more weapons in the hands of protectors.  Simple.

Now.  Let’s start addressing the real issue.

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5 responses

  1. Amen – Now I challenge you, George, to copy your blog and spread it around to representatives in all fifty states. Get the word out because you said it very well!

    December 19, 2012 at 6:13 pm

  2. Geo, this probably the best and most concise argument for realistic gun control and a compromise that can, if implemented, get us going on the track to fixing this for both sides.
    Very well stated.

    December 19, 2012 at 6:53 pm

  3. Hester

    I totally agree with you. Keeping weapons of any kind from mentally unstable individuals is paramount. When we still had locked wards, they couldn’t even have shoelaces for fear any one of them might strangle the staff, another patient or themselves. But there is little that properly passes for mental health care in the US today. Insurance providers have put it at the bottom of the list of covered care, usually limiting both the number of visits and treatment modalities… and that’s only if you have a “premium” plan. Medicaid coverage is minimal. If one has means, it is possible to pay for private care but even then, hard to find quality providers. I doubt there will be any improvement with the ACA i terms of “when”, “how much” and “what kind” of treatment/evaluation.

    It is especially difficult when the individual is a child because no one wants to “label” someone so early; so young. Yet childhood psychoses DO exist. The recent cadre of US mass murderers have been young men. Is this significant? Maybe. Were there signs and symptoms beforehand? Probably. Certainly Adam Lanza’a mother saw them (yet why the woman had unsecured guns in the house is beyond me…) and was presumably trying to take steps. But, like so many, it was too little too late.

    Unfortunately, I don’t see Biden and his crew coming up with anything worthwhile to work on, never mind, solve this problem… other than stricter gun controls for EVERYONE.

    And in case anyone wants to know… I am not a gun owner though my father and the rest of the family were/are. So I don’t consider myself a gun nut; I just am unwilling to casually give up my/our Second Amendment rights. The Founders put that there for a good reason and we should never forget what that reason is. And it has NOTHING to do with hunting.

    December 19, 2012 at 7:20 pm

  4. Kelley

    I agree with Cheri in that you should send this to legistlators, and you should post it on the White House’s LinkedIn page. If Biden is given the task of taking on gun reform, he needs balanced, common-sense ideas from rational people such as you.

    We have guns in our home, and hope to never use them there, but it sure is good to know that if an intruder decides to break in while we are there, I don’t have to wait 10-15 minutes for our local police to take control of the situation. We would be dead by then if the person chose to kill for what they wanted. I choose to protect my family, and if shooting my gun to stop the person is the best solution at that point in time, then I plan to use my 2nd Amendment rights and do so.

    Mental health services are lacking, but they are available. People just need to seek them out and USE them. So many persons with mental health disorders take their medications for a while, get better because of it, think they are doing great and decide to stop taking the meds, which leads to problems. Many don’t realized its the meds making them better. I have heard this over and over again from mental health professionals I know, and from people I know with disorders. We need to educate and re-educate care givers and loved ones about the necessity for appropriate resources and care.

    And there is a lot more to be said, and in the coming weeks, months and perhaps, years, we will hear every scenario, sane and not-so-sane, from every advocate, lobbyist, organization, newscaster, shock jock, and water-cooler analyst around. And I’m sure I’ll be one of them, but hopefully on the sane side of the spectrum.

    December 19, 2012 at 7:44 pm

  5. Once again, you said everything I wish I could have thought of. We like to think our elected officials are at least as intelligent as we are, but I’ve never heard one of them offer as clear an argument as this on any subject. Yes, post this blog everywhere you can; and if you ever decide to run for office, you have my vote.

    December 20, 2012 at 7:01 am

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