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Montana Politics US Politics

This Time a Pessimist

I kept my mouth shut all summer and through the fall on gun violence, because I don’t have a viable solution that hasn’t already been made that we don’t all know.  I still don’t.  Personally, I do believe we should have tighter restrictions on gun owners, the weapons they can purchase, and where they can carry them.  I believe in societal responsibility, so when violent crimes occur — I do place the blame on the criminal — but too, I place it on the society in which the person lived.  America has a love for guns, violence, and death.  Because of this love, we take on a great responsibility for when tragedies occur.  I believe that the people who speak the loudest and try to expand gun rights, should take on the majority of the shame for these tragedies.  Without the tool that makes taking lives so easy, the pain would be less.  Would the individual find another way to commit a violent act, probably, but without guns, would the damage have been so vast?  Yet, I don’t even want to stir that pot of crazy, because the fact is, our Constitution allows the right for individuals to bear arms and form militias.   So, even this crazy, socialist-lefty-liberal believes the gun debate has sailed….  No one is losing their guns.  And really, most of those gun owners don’t commit crimes or hurt themselves or anyone else with them, but that doesn’t diminish the amount of harm they have caused.  I think people in my own life, and I can count multiple violent gun acts:  two suicides, two murders of family friends (separate incidences), and one accidental injury.

We live in a world with guns and will continue to live in a world with guns, so how as a society are we going to deal with gun violence?  I honestly thought the recent suggestions of arming teachers and stationing soldiers outside of schools was a twisted joke.  I don’t see how more bullets will solve anything.  I do know it will increase fear.  I for one would be more afraid.  How do we then control the people who are going to commit these crimes in the future?  Mental health organizations.  We need more, we’ve needed more mental health  access  for our citizens for years.  Getting help to those who need it before they commit such massacres  will help.  Will it solve the problem?  No.  But what can it hurt?  I believe that gun organizations should be funding mental health and buying safety locks and safes for gun owners, or at least negotiating amazing deals with the manufacturers.  These gun groups need to be at the forefront of leading with new ideas to help the situation, instead of always being on the defensive.

I am pessimistic about the future of this issue (and I love to be the optimist).  I don’t see these massacres going away.  We will always have guns.  We will always have citizens with mental illness, and our past will repeat in the future if we don’t change.  That thought breaks my heart.

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  • Don, I think that was one of your better posts… and IMHO is an important post. You acknowledge the challenges facing our society from a witches brew of factors that lead to violence. As I see it the process requires a risk management vulnerabilities assessment with a charting of frequency and severity.

    Imagine a river that viciously floods at unpredictable times affecting a growing valley population. Disaster repeats itself. So it is decided to build a dam up river to control runoff (policy change). It also has many other side benefits, it not only lessens fear but provides water for irrigation and power generation. However, it may take 20 years to get such a dam built and operational. So for 20 years, the threat repeats and people are left with dike building and sand bagging.

    Assuming whatever violence control policy measures are put in place to address the system failures, with the prevalence of weapons, mental illness, and other sociopathic behaviors that correlate to episodes of violence, to do nothing for the years to pass until such time as the policy measures become effective is not acceptable. A dual track approach is necessary. Training and equipping civilian authority figures to respond to violent threats is one such effort to do something to meet those near term threats not arrested by violence control policy efforts to change the systemic problems. Allowing individual citizens to act accordingly in defense of themselves or another is further response. Another approach is to significantly expand law enforcement 100x over. It’s NOT acceptable to leave the vulnerabilities unaddressed for 20 years.

    It’s not a matter of trading near term threat abatement efforts for systemic policy measures, or the other way around. They must work together.

    Mere signs are insufficient. Any way, I liked your post. It’s constructive to put the issues on the table without the vituperative distractions that trade on a tragedy.

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