Gunning for a solution …

People are dying in my country.

As someone who occasionally presides over funerals and memorial services, yeah I know that death is part of life.  There are numerous quotes that sum up my faith concerning death and probably the most succinct and positive is

Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

so this is .. I hope .. not written out of fear of death personally.

It is written about a desire to live in a safe place and have my children and their children also live in a safe place.

Let me say that I don’t and probably will never own a gun.  But that doesn’t mean I hate gun owners or find them repugnant people.  Like everyone else, they run the gamut of professions, backgrounds, physical and emotional health and all other demographic and soft data points regarding people.

Now it is of interest that, given a gun, I could probably shoot it with a notable degree of accuracy and lethality.  This is not to brag; it is just from watching TV shows and movies.  And playing a few arcade computer games (we’re talking Space Invaders, ok?), I know I could get much, much better if I practiced.

But I don’t want to practice.  Guns aren’t my thing.  I’d rather play the piano, given a little extra time during the day.

On the flip side I understand that people do like to shoot guns as a hobby.  Target practice is cool, especially when you get good at it.  I also watch my kids play games where their characters shoot monsters and other people’s characters for fun and strategy.  I appreciate games and their entertainment value.

I wrote on top that people are dying my country.

Specifically, they are dying because there those with guns who have taken them out of practice, out of the range or gaming venues and used them on real people.  In a malicious way, not in self-defense and not in war.

The recent slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary is destined to be the poster event for the issue because little kids died and the shooter, which we will learn about in great detail in the coming months, had legal guns and was a trained hobbyist.

He was also crazy.  By the way, as a parent of an Asperger’s child, THAT is not the issue.  But is part of the puzzle called Adam Lanza.

For now, there is a very animated debate about gun ownership.  After Sandy Hook, we should have known it was coming.

Gun owners are up in arms, literally, that their guns will be confiscated.  Suspicion of the government, which turns on like a switch whenever this comes up, is running high.

On the other side are those who do not and would never own a gun.  Their positions range from very strict banning of all guns to only checking the sanity of those purchasing assault rifles.

And of course the debate has all the political civility of 21st century America – that is, nearly none.  At least people aren’t shooting each other over it.  Well, not yet.  Or maybe they are, indirectly.  There have been two other rampages since Sandy Hook, since it is apparently the season to snap.

I support efforts to prevent events like Adam Lanza’s planned attack.  And I support efforts to minimize their impact.  One dead is better than 26 dead.  But zero dead is better than one dead.  I hope you see the math, as grim as it is.

I think it’s clear that the mix of personality, weaponry, mental illness, social maladjustment, bullying, planning and a host of other factors play into the committing of these acts.  The data is already in and it is complicated.

But its complications should not stop us from going after a solution or set of solutions.  Unpublished by the media (because no one wants to read about thwarted things) is any list of prevented attacks like this one:

I think it’s clear that every one of a set of factors is present when these events happen and if we catch ANY of them, we stop the attack and the attackers.

The question is whether we have the national will to do so.  Guns are easy to point to .. easier than, say, mental illness.  But diligence to any of the factors pays off.

In America we also don’t want to be held under suspicion, we say it threatens our freedom.  But suspicion saves lives and lack of allows these events to continue.

An angry person with access to weapons who has told someone even in veiled terms of a plan to kill is someone to call the cops about.  And if there’s a history of maltreatment or mental illness, the urgency of such a call increases.  Etc.

I don’t advocate much gun control.  I don’t know the need for assault rifles; perhaps ownership of such weapons should receive extra scrutiny such that the presence of an Adam Lanza in the house would keep them out of his mother’s collection.

And as sad a commentary as it is, our schools and other soft targets cannot remain as soft.  After the populace has been gathered in for the day, all means of making entry difficult can and should be instituted.

So I’m not interested in taking guns away but I am gunning for a solution to this epidemic we are suffering from.  And I believe we can solve it if we’re calm and thoughtful about it.