Posts Tagged ‘gun control’

My Disturbing Gun Dream

In my dream, I’m caught in a shootout. (Okay, I watch a lot of TV.) Luckily, I’m not alone. I have a partner. (LL Cool J?) After an exchange of shots, my partner is hit and incapacitated. I get off a few more shots before my weapon clicks. Uh oh, I’m out of ammo. I have cover but it’ll take only a few seconds for my assailants to realize that I’m not firing back. It doesn’t look good for me, but wait! My partner fired only a couple of shots before he got hit, and his weapon is within my reach. I grab it and wait for one of the shooters to poke his head up to see where I am. I take quick aim and pull the trigger but it won’t shoot. Oh no. Don’t tell me. It’s a “smart gun.” It will fire only for my partner! Here, fortunately, is where I usually wake up reflecting on unforeseen consequences.

Be careful what you wish for.

© 2016 by Dwight Boud

Trump as dictator?

I would vote for Donald Trump should he be nominated for President. Something he said recently, however, reminded me of why he is not close to being my first choice. In addressing the gun control issue, he said that “no-gun zones in schools” are “bait.” By which he implied that potential mass shooters are attracted to no-gun zones to gun down innocents. As a counter measure, Trump said that as President, he would do away with “no-gun zones” in schools.

While that sounds like a logical step to discourage potential mass shootings of school students, for me Trump’s statement was chilling. It indicated that he views the Presidency as an office that enables its occupant to decide how local school districts should be governed. Right now, we have a President who regularly “goes around Congress” to achieve his goals. For doing that, Barack Obama is rightly criticized for operating like a dictator. What, then, would be different about Donald Trump’s “going around” local school boards to control how their districts were governed?

I believe that governmental decisions as a rule are best made by the elected officials who are closest to the places and people who will be most affected by their decisions. Trump as President would have to work with members of Congress, state governors and legislators, and the courts among others. I hope he would be willing to accept that, even when they might try to stymie his favorite ideas. I hope, but I don’t know.

Preventing More Massacres?

We pray that all the victims of the Aurora, Colorado movie theater massacre will find solace for their grief and strength to deal with their losses.

In the aftermath of that atrocity, there is the inevitable talk of increased enforcement of gun control laws. (Even NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg recognizes that we don’t need more laws.) Most people recognize that the strongest enforcement would not prevent criminals and terrorists, etc. from obtaining guns. And, of course, this atrocity was perpetrated not by a criminal (he had no criminal record) or a terrorist in the sense that we normally use that term. He is a troubled individual. Insane? Maybe. Sick? Probably. 

More interesting to me are comments by certified psychologists and psychiatrists that we need to become more alert to people who show signs of psychological distress and to get them help before they act out in destructive ways. They urge us to look for changes in behavior, uncharacteristic signs of alienation, verbal threats, and the like. The people most likely to recognize such changes are family members and co-workers. In the United States, unfortunately, there has been considerable disintegration of the family. Young men, those most likely to commit such assaults, may have been raised in negative environments and/or are at an age when they have left the family and are living as newly independent adults. Co-workers and other acquaintances, moreover, may be be too distracted by daily responsibilities to pay attention to behavioral changes in others.

Setting is important in this regard. The population of Aurora is about 332,354, a good sized town within the larger Denver metropolitan area. It’s an area like so many where a person can become “invisible,” an anonymous person about whom relative strangers assume no responsibility. How, then, can we forestall such destructive actions? We can’t all live in villages where aberrant behavior stands out like a pineapple in a cabbage patch. Villages, in fact, are disappearing as more and more people move into cities where greater economic and social opportunities seem to exist. Even the UN through its Agenda 21 advocates that more people live in cities claiming that doing so would make life on earth more “sustainable.”  

What we can do wherever we live is to pay closer attention to our family members, coworkers, and neighbors. Maintain direct communication with them. As we say about terrorism, “if you see something, say something.” Compare notes with others who are in a position to observe changes in behavior. Learn what mental health professionals consider “red flags.” Keeping in perspective the fact that, from tim to time, we all express transient dissatisfactions without being a threat to others, intervene where you have genuine concerns, and do not automatically leave it to “someone else.”

ADDENDUM: After I wrote the above, it was reported that the accused shooter in the movie theater massacre was being treated by a psychiatrist. It appears that my advice, while still relevant, may have made dealing with this problem seem easier than it actually is.