As we endure the aftermath of yet another senseless and unnecessary example of the destructive power of weapons designed for the sole purpose of killing human beings in the hands of a disturbed young man, partisans once again retreat to their corners, ensuring that this scenario will continue playing out again, and again. Madness.
The politicians posturing over their belief in the “sanctity of life” in supporting the pro-life movement strike an entirely contradictory tone when it comes to attempts to make it harder to kill innocents by striking down sensible controls on who, how, and when people can exercise their Second Amendment rights. Madness.
In an apparent attempt to establish mutually-assured destruction, pro-gun voices, including several smarmy politicians, suggest that the best and only answer is more guns. “Arm teachers!” “Good guys with guns!” In a fairly-recent mall shooting event, a “good guy with a gun” was mistakenly shot and killed by responding law enforcement. How does one imagine a teacher (even if well-trained) armed with a handgun can successfully engage a man with a semi-automatic rifle? Should we also provide teachers with body armor? Bigger guns? Little more than a week ago, a shooter armed with similar weapons and wearing tactical armor shot and killed an armed guard during a rampage at a grocery store in Buffalo. Yet, some think handing a teacher a firearm will stop an attack. Madness.
That we should be doing more to address mental illness in our populace is unquestionable. Yet isn’t it ironic that many who support unfettered gun rights continue to fight attempts to broaden access to healthcare? Bear in mind that mental illness isn’t a unique feature confined only to this nation. Developed, gun-owning countries around the world have similar levels of mental illness, yet none come close to the level and frequency of mass-carnage we witness here on a far-too-regular basis. Madness.
Another approach espoused by the “thoughts and prayers” crowd is to provide more school security measures. As someone who served on an oversight committee at a local school district to ensure taxpayer dollars are wisely spent, I find the hypocrisy almost too much to bear. We are spending millions turning schools into something resembling minimum-security prisons, complete with surveillance cameras, controlled-access gates, and armed guards — all paid for by your tax dollars. Yet it is often these same people who squeeze school budgets that would provide better classrooms and equipment to educate our children. Madness.
Events of the past few years have made it abundantly clear that there is virtually no safe public space in this country anymore. Whether at a school, shopping mall, grocery store, concert venue, or any other “soft target” location, we are now exposed to the potential threat posed by a person or persons intent on one thing: inflicting death on as many people as possible. The response to those responsible for ensuring our welfare? Give in to the gun lobby and essentially maintain the status quo. Madness.
Kirk Effinger is a local Realtor and former opinion columnist for the North County Times and San Diego Union-Tribune.