Enrollment is still open, just let me know via a comment, email, Twitter, Facebook...I'm pretty easy to get a hold of.
Anyway, after the Newtown Massacre the cowardly NRA eventually came out with their usual spiel about how gun laws don't work and really the only way to solve the problem is to make sure everyone has guns. To which I would say bullshit. You don't solve the problem by introducing more of the cause of said problem. I mean it'd be like my doctor telling me that to lose weight I need to eat more candy. Or if we want to deal with drugs then let's get everyone hooked on heroin. It's a patently absurd notion, yet one that a lot of people seem partial to.
I think there's another solution other than turning America into a Wild West amusement park. If you want to get really serious about the problem then basically we need to throw a few billion to hire hundreds of thousands of more police officers. Put cameras all over the place. Make sure streets are adequately lit--a real problem in bankrupt cities like Detroit. Tear down vacant structures. I think it was on Bloomberg I watched a segment on how in Oakland they have sensors now that can detect when a bullet is fired and direct police to the location--throw a bunch of those in too.
Will that solve every problem? No. But it will make it a lot more difficult for maniacs to run around armed to the teeth. Does it sound somewhat fascist? Yes. But the NRA alternative sounds anarchist. So I guess you pick your poison. My own preference is to have the guns in the hands of people trained to use them as opposed to every slack-jawed yokel running around with an AR-15 assault rifle.
But really the solution always has to come from within. Think again of dieting. You can pay for a personal trainer and a chef. You can pay for some kind of food bodyguard to make sure you don't eat that pizza in the fridge. You can get all the surgeries you want. None of that is ever going to really work for long unless you decide you really, truly want to lose weight. Trust me on that one. It's the same with drugs, alcohol, and other addictions.
And in many ways I think we're addicted to violence. I hate to sound like Tipper Gore, but jeez just look at movie theaters, video games, TV and even some forms of music. It's all laden with violence. I mean we're pretty much like Malcolm McDowell in "A Clockwork Orange" where they strap him to that chair and force him to watch all sorts of terrible imagery. And while most of us still don't necessarily run out and buy a gun and shoot people, is it any wonder some people do?
Then it saddens me to think that I contribute to the problem. Or I would if anyone read my books. I mean superhero books like mine are filled with violence. My story Chance of a Lifetime features a woman who goes on a vendetta against the mobsters who killed her, three of whom get shot and one of whom gets his throat slit. Really all I can do is shrug and like Ahh-nold in "True Lies" say, "Yes but they were all bad."
Really since the dawn of time we've been fascinated by violent action stories. Though back in Homer's day the violence might have been more implied. There have always been action heroes like Achilles, Odysseus, and Herakles right on up to John MacLane in "Die Hard." We probably enjoy those stories because most of us are not action heroes and are oppressed by The Man in its many forms. So we like a little escapist fantasy to interrupt the drudgery of our lives.
The problem is that some people think fantasy is reality and take things too far. And I don't think making sure everyone can have guns is going to solve that. If anything, it will only make the problem even worse. I mean everyone has those moments where they get pissed off and fly off the handle; those moments can become deadly if said person has a gun within reach.
Also since I'm a fan of Star Trek and the like, I think some of this problem could be overcome with better technology. Really what we need are better nonlethal defenses. So that instead of a carrying around an AR-15 "for protection" you could just have a really good Taser to incapacitate people instead of killing them. Basically something like a phaser on Star Trek (only with no kill setting) would be awesome. Then you've got "protection" without bloodshed. Win-win!
Anyway, if we really want to have a discussion of this, here are some facts I wish the NRA would wake up to:
- You don't need an assault rifle to hunt deer. Or to hunt anything except people.
- Unless you expect Seal Team 6 to storm your house you don't need an assault rifle and fifty clips of ammo for "protection."
- We put common sense limits on freedom all the time, like laws that say you can't drive through residential zones at 90mph, you can't drive drunk, you can't vote until you're 18, and so forth. Just because we have those laws doesn't mean we have a totalitarian regime.
- If Israel, a country that routinely faces terrorist violence, can survive banning guns then I think we can survive banning assault rifles and giant clips.
Those are my rambling thoughts, what about you?