Gun talk is everywhere again, and I am sitting here not sleeping because my mind is going crazy with thoughts, so I might as well get them down.
First, the assumptions - please let me know if you think I am off base:
The key factors driving gun violence are (in no particular order):
1. The comparative effectiveness of firearms - They are better at killing things.
2. The availability of firearms - The are cheap, easy to acquire, and readily available
3. Lack of education about, and respect for firearms - A key factor in accident shooting and gang incidents.
4. Mental health - Mental health care stinks
5. Desensitization coupled with classical and operant conditioning - Violent Movies, Shows, Games etc... (not saying they make everyone violent, only that they are significant contributors to the propensity toward violent acts. See the info at this link for more info.
6. Nihilism - Rejection of moral principles. I (unscientifically) claim it is on the rise, and clearly contributes to the problem.
Now the proposals:
1 and 2 are where most of the focus/debate is. I have seen no headway. I don't foresee that changing.
3. I propose we make basic firearms safety training a required part of middle-school curriculum. We teach kids proper care and handling of the kitchen cutlery, shouldn't we also teach them to never play with a gun, how to make certain a gun is unloaded? safely stored?
I further propose that we implement an "Advanced Firearms Safety license". This would be voluntary, and would be a reward based solution. By completing this , which would include background checks, advanced firearm safety training, training in proper defense and engagement tactics, etc... you would qualify for certain additional privileges, like concealed carry to many otherwise restricted locations, Airplane carry... Not sure what, the point is to make it rigorous and rewarding.
4. It is funny how readily we accept the fallibility of every organ in the body except the brain. Limbs, eyes, ears, heart, liver, kidneys etc... wear out, break and degenerate. We know this, we accept this. we are sympathetic to those who suffer from various conditions, and we have all kinds of tests to help detect them. Many insurance providers offer free coverage for an annual health check-up, they look in your ears, they listen to your heart, they draw blood, looking for indicators of a number of health problems, which when detected early can be prevented, treated, or managed.
Yet most people seem to still believe that the brain is somehow infallible (With the exception of a few various obvious birth defects, or strokes). How dumb is that?
I propose we offer a tax credit or other incentive for a free annual mental health checkup. Tests could include blood draws, brain activity scans, psychological questionnaires... At first, much of the information would have limited use, but after a few decades of collecting information from the entire population (or most of anyway), we would begin to establish useful correlations which would allow for appropriate preventative programs to be implemented. The sooner we start, the sooner we will get there.
5. I propose that a risk tax be placed on movies, shows, music, and games which contain excessive violence, or glorify/represent the misuse of firearms (improper stance, firing into crowds, unlimited ammo, mass shootings, "trick shooting" etc... Tax the shows, and the tax the actors/actresses. That may reduce the quantity of violent content to a more manageable level, and the taxes will help fund the previously proposed education and health check-ups.
I further propose (This one won't be popular) that parents can be fined if they allow their children to view or play content which is rated for mature viewers only. And they can be tried as accessory to murder if it shown shown their underage child perpetrator was allowed access to mature content.
6. I don't have a practical proposal here. The community at large has to make the choice to reverse this trend. To take responsibility and teach their children to "Love one another".
Okay, I think I'm done. Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions? I'm going back to bed.