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Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Two Bits on the Sandy Hook Tragedy

 Adam Lanza now joins a growing list of disturbed American assassins which include other "notables" such as John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahlmer, Jared Loughner and James Holmes. It seems like the horror is only worsening but, as a country, we have a history of under-service to people suffering from the ravages of mental illness. That "head in the sand" attitude has been around for a very long time and we pay for it frequently.

 Let's avoid the quagmire of "Pro-Gun" versus "Anti-Gun" for minute. There has never been a case of any gun jumping off a store shelf and walking down to the nearest school, temple, polling place, etc. and shooting people. There has always been a deeply troubled mind behind the guns. When guns weren't available other means were used.

 On May 18, 1927, in Bath Township, MI, Andrew Kehoe used explosives to kill his wife, as well as 43 other people, including 38 children; and injuring 58 people in setting off bombs in what came to be known as the "Bath School Disaster." The only time he effectively used a firearm was when he shot the dynamite in his truck as a successful suicide.

 Eliminating guns, or knives, or baseball bats, machetes, swords, spears, etc. would be an ineffective stop-gap measure at best. Why? Because it does not address the true problem; the assailant, frequently the mentally ill assassin behind the horrors.

 The United Kingdom was highly successful in outlawing almost every type of firearm imaginable. And yes, their firearm murder rate did drop, however they now have a significant problem with murders/assaults involving edged weapons, i.e. knives.

 It is time we stop these needless, horrific, and pitiful killings. NO ONE can stop them all but I would suggest the following as a good first step.

    (1) Immediate funding for mental health counselors in every school (grade school, middle school, high school and colleges/universities. They would NOT be school counselors, instead their job would be to intervene early and help identify individuals with issues before they result to violence.

    (2) Enforce Mental Health/Health Insurance parity laws

    (3) Education loan forgiveness for Mental Health Counselors (NOT Social Workers)!

    (4) Affordable psychotropic medications for individuals who need them.

    (5) Train school teachers (who wish the training and responsibility) in concealed weapons carry and close quarters handgun techniques. Sounds stupid, right? Remember when it sounded stupid to train Airline pilots to carry guns as well???

    (6) Recruit more police and increase their pay to make it a more attractive career. Change police academies from a one semester course to a minimum of an Associate's Degree. The expanded curriculum to include Crisis Intervention Training, Introduction to psychopathology, and Abnormal psychology (not just criminal psychology)

    (7) Pass a federal law allowing certified Law Enforcement Officers (active and retired) to carry concealed weapons in any state of the union (not just where they work) to include airlines, buses and Amtrak.

    (8) Institute stringent training and certification guidelines, including a psychological evaluation, and then allow open carry to those who meet the new criteria.

    (9) Mandatory jail sentences for any "journalist" (Print or TV) who asks a family member of a murdered victim "What are you feeling right now?"

 You may not agree with me, but then that is what made American great: our right to disagree.


Cox Hakase

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