Three days ago, a crazed 20 year old shot his way into an elementary school and killed 20 kindergartners and 7 adults. The country has been left reeling, trying to make sense of why someone would do such a thing. It feels worse than other school shootings because these children were so young. It doesn’t make sense – not to any rational person. We will never know this coward’s motivation. What we do know is that he spent enough time planning it to gather a bunch of guns, kill the only person who could have stopped him (his mother) and then drive to a place where he had previously had confrontations with staff – Sandy Hook Elementary.
This was clearly premeditated. Most states have laws on the books that make punishments more lenient on people when they commit a crime of passion (i.e. man walks in on his wife with another man in the bed, man freaks out and kills the other guy, or the wife, or both). It’s something done in the moment out of intense anger and sadness, not done with any planning. This school shooting can in no way be justified or said to be a fit of rage. From everything we know so far, there was no emotion whatsoever. Just methodical execution of helpless little kids.
The perpetrator of this crime was too much of a coward to face the consequences for his crimes, so we will never get to ask him what his motivations were. I’m positive we would not be satisfied with the answers even if we knew them. Of course, any time this type of massacre happens, the national debate always turns immediately to gun control. It’s really a distraction from the real issue, but apparently it’s a knee-jerk reaction. Guns do kill innocent people when they’re in the hand of a nut. But the nut is the one pulling the trigger. Ban guns and all of the “responsible” citizens will forfeit their guns. The nuts and bad guys won’t.
There are over 300 million guns already in the hands of citizens in the United States. It’s a genie you can never put back into the bottle. Regardless your views on guns, it’s a moot point. Even if 80% of the citizens turned in their guns (almost 100% of which are unregistered because most states don’t require registration), you’d still have tens of millions of guns available on the black market. We don’t live in a country where the feds are going to go door-to-door searching for guns. And we don’t WANT to live in that country. Think about how well banning alcohol went. Drugs. We already have all the laws on the books we could ever need. It’s illegal to carry a gun or any weapon into a school. It’s illegal to kill people. It’s illegal to shoot people. It’s illegal to assault people. It’s illegal to buy a gun if you have a history of mental illness or a felony conviction. We don’t need more laws.
We need to find a way to treat and or lock up sadistic mentally ill sociopaths BEFORE they commit a crime. I’m sure my more liberal friends will object to that thought. But really, look at this guy. His mother knew he was dangerous. His neighbors, classmates, acquaintances all knew he was “creepy,” “scary,” and “dangerous.” But we literally don’t have any options as to preventing him from committing this crime. It’s not difficult for a trained psychologist to diagnose a sociopath. His family knew. Everyone seemed to know. So why, knowing that someone is a sadistic nut would we NOT do something, proactively, to limit the damage they can do? I personally know a guy that is a sadistic (if not evil) sociopath. Is there anything I can do PRIOR to him shooting up a school? Or is that the only litmus test we are willing to accept for criminal insanity?
I sat across from a man at my previous job who laughed hysterically about Columbine and how all of those kids had it coming. Would I be surprised if he shot up a school? Not really. Since we clearly have no intention of being proactive about mental health – and yes – to be proactive we MUST include involuntary commitment, the only recourse we have as a society is to protect our schools, malls, churches, movie theaters, and other public places.
I hate big government, but regardless, here is what I propose. Metal detectors in EVERY school regardless of age range. Armed off-duty police officers at EVERY school with instructions to shoot first and ask questions later. Total lockdown of our schools, every day, all day. Parents will be given an access card AND a code that must be entered to get into the school, and even parents with their card and code must go through security. Do we care enough to protect our children? The coming weeks will test our collective will to do just that.