Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Death and Gun Violence

     Because of the number of deaths and the grief it causes parents and other family members and friends, I want to present my thoughts on guns and the problems people with guns cause.  Let me say at the outset, my son died of a gunshot wound of the chest.  It may have been a homicide or manslaughter or an accident.  To this day, I do not know.  I do know that too many of us have lost our children to gun violence that should not have happened.  Another week has gone by and still more shootings, one in a workplace and one in a hospital.  Lives are lost and the survivors' lives irrevocably changed forever.  I wonder what it would be like in the U.S. if guns were not so readily available especially to criminals, dangerously mentally ill people and juveniles.

    Obtaining a gun permit is not an easy process with a lengthy application and a background check for criminal records and supposedly for a history of serious mental illness.  Yet, somehow there is a proliferation of guns that wind up in the wrong hands with disastrous consequences.  Some gun owners  do not secure their weapons properly so they wind up in the hands of children of all ages for accidents or purposeful killing.  Others eligible for gun ownership buy many guns at gun shows or online where there are no background checks or limit on purchases.  These can be resold on the street to people who should not have them.  Big problem and the source of most gun crimes.

     What can or should be done to prevent gun deaths?  On one hand we have the proponents of gun ownership because of the Second Amendment to our U.S. Constitution which guarantees citizens the right to bear arms.  It is my own opinion this amendment was intended for militias to protect the country and to protect citizens against a tyrranical government, not widespread gun availability and gun ownership for personal use.  Many may strongly disagree with my point of view, but cannot there be some middle ground?

     There seems to be too many flaws in the permit process, especially as regards seriously and dangerously mentally individuals, gun show purchases and online purchases.  I would say all these areas need to be tightened up to protect the public and the rights of legitimate gun owners.  What is not the answer is more widespread gun ownership for protection against the "bad guys."  That is just too dangerous and reminds me of a wild west mentality.  I also see no reason why any citizen should be allowed to obtain an assault rifle.   They can do a lot of damage in a short period of time and are too dangerous to defend against.  Assault weapons should be limited to law enforcement and the military.

     Because of my experience working in a large urban school district, I am also in favor of metal detectors for all students and visitors to high schools and middle schools where most school gun violence has occurred.  These schools should also have school police officers and/or an assigned law enforcement officer.

     These are my personal thoughts and opinions.  I would like to know if you agree or disagree or have any further ideas.  I think, though, we can all agree steps must be taken to stem gun violence.  


2 comments:

rosemarie kaupp said...

Yet another mass shooting in the U.S. over Memorial Day weekend by another mentally disturbed young man. He had access to guns and knives, was able to fool police, and noticed to be mentally disturbed by parents & neighbors. I would like to suggest better law enforcement training to screen for mental illness and easier accessibility of inpatient mental health for those who are a danger to themselves or others. If we can't take guns off the street, then we definitely need better mental health care. Identifying and treating dangerous, disturbed persons needs to be improved to prevent these tragedies. Otherwise this carnage will continue

rosemarie kaupp said...

Yet another mass shooting in the U.S. over Memorial Day weekend by another mentally disturbed young man. He had access to guns and knives, was able to fool police, and noticed to be mentally disturbed by parents & neighbors. I would like to suggest better law enforcement training to screen for mental illness and easier accessibility of inpatient mental health for those who are a danger to themselves or others. If we can't take guns off the street, then we definitely need better mental health care. Identifying and treating dangerous, disturbed persons needs to be improved to prevent these tragedies. Otherwise this carnage will continue