Sunday, July 26, 2015

How we're tempted to act in the aftermath of such horrific behavior

A lot of rhetoric will be expanded upon in the next few weeks calling for new gun control laws, or even the outright ban of them. Most of this will be by politicians who appreciate the response poll response such lip service will provide a great deal more than the actual practicalities of spending real political capital in making it happen. This does not change the fact, however, that this will be prompted by the very human need to do something that is obviously reverberating through the population currently.

And lets be clear from the beginning. A couple of fundamental, reasonable, measures to keep fire arms out of the hands of people with a history of violence, or the tendency towards harm to others, would be quite helpful. A truly integrated national database of such behavior, linked with an effective transactional query system to make checks, as well as updates, quick, as well as accurate, would seem like a no brainer. As would having rules for keeping the weapons locked up when not in use, and keeping track of non compliance should also be included.  Unfortunately, governments being governments, of course, make "no brainer's" look like Herculean tasks.

In this, it is also reasonable to ask those who wish to exercise their right to bear arms to bear a significant portion of the cost of implementing, and maintaining this system. Which would be levied in the form of permit fees and gun taxes. And when the right wines about "more taxes" we should simply reply: "If you want the benefit then shoulder some of the responsibility."

What I fear, though, and why I am prompted to make this post, is that we'll get caught up in another well intentioned crusade to ban something outright. And as history as shown quite clearly, all of these "wars" on whatever might be the ill of the day, are often a great deal more harmful than the ill itself. Which is why I would no more ban guns than I would ban drugs.

Both of these things have the potential for stupid people doing stupid things with them. As well as for truly troubled people to do some very troubling things with. The bottom line for me has always been "you simply cannot legislate to any great degree against stupidity or troubled individuals." The best you can do is work around these human flaws to limit the collateral damage.

Being an advocate for social change I am always tempted to put the blame for bad behavior on one or another aspects of the current operating system. Being a Systems Analyst as well, however, makes giving in to that temptation rather difficult. The fact of the matter is that people act out their frustrations, or fears, or anger for a universe of complicated factors. Passion of the moment. The legacy of not being shown how to make better choices, with a balance of discipline and nurturing. Substance abuse. Physical abuse. Brain disorders. A sequence of sudden misfortunes. The list could go on and on.

I'd like to think, of course, that having a more involving, less disconnected, form of social organization would make for a much more helpful environment in which people could learn to make better choices in. Changing that system, however, would in no way eliminate the human propensity for making mistakes in judgement, any more than it would completely eliminate greed, or envy or hate. We are frail beings both emotionally and physically. That's just the way it is. Keeping faith with both Love and Mind, working together, is the only thing that's ever made any sense to me as a way to keep on putting one foot in front of the

Port Arthur Massacre: The Shooting Spree That Changed Australia's Gun Laws