Once again we are faced with another national tragedy. This time it is the senseless and brutal killing of children, and school staff at an elementary school in Connecticut. And again the debate will commence over how this has come to pass, and what we must do to stop further occurrences. Gun control advocates will scream their usual rhetoric and call for stricter gun control and/or the abolishment of firearms. But let's take a look at some history here and just maybe they are barking up the wrong tree.
Legislators and law enforcement have recognized a need for citizen protection from violence for quite some time now. In recent years they have become much more efficient in screening out those who should not possess firearms. The computer age has allowed authorities to maintain accurate records to rely upon for "background checks," and tracking gun ownership. I'm happy to say that all this was done without eroding the rights of our citizens to possess, and own, firearms.
So the question is, why has gun violence increased, despite all the efforts to curb same. Let me offer something to consider. Perhaps not the answer in whole, but nonetheless an observation on my part.
Many years ago, when this country had a lessor population, we had substantially more mental health hospitals than we do today. Over time, the mental health community has relied more and more on drugs to treat those within their care. Direct supervision gave way to drugs and an easier, cheaper way to treat mental disease. In most cases that may work, as long as the patient is diligent and responsible. But what about those who are not? Is it possible that we saved tax dollars in bricks and mortar at the expense of a vulnerable citizenship? Perhaps we need to re-think this strategy. We surely cannot deny that many sick people are falling through the cracks. We just need to turn on the evening news to see this.
There is one more point I wish to bring up. This one is more a responsibility the populace than the government. It has to do with the entertainment of our youth. No longer do we watch variety shows on TV. Serial comedy and non-violent drama are a thing of the past. Wholesome entertainment is replaced with extreme violence on both the television set and the big screen. Yet how ironic that this same entertainment industry is the first to call for the elimination of firearms. They rake in billions of dollars with their violent "trash" and hypocritically demand the vacating of a constitutional liberty.
But it is not limited to TV and film. Just look at the violence on gaming devices. Play Station and X Box, video parlors and computers, all rife with horrible violence. We allow our youth to partake in violence in the name of entertainment. As parents, what the heck are we thinking? How can we be so surprised at gun violence, when we allow it, in the form of entertainment?
Be prepared to hear the hue and cry for the abolishment of guns. It is coming. But I submit the problem is not with gun ownership, but with how our society has changed in recent times. The efforts to regulate gun ownership is effective and is working. What is not working lies with other factors, perhaps those I have outlined. I write... you decide!
Sheriff Gary R. Carlson (ret.)