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Monday, December 17, 2012

Solving the Gun/Shooting Problem in America

      Mention guns and you are going to get either of two replies.  The answer will be determined by the person's personal point of view.   The fact that gun ownership is protected under the Constitution might actually help solve the problem.  Answering a few questions first might help solve the dilemma.  First is why should people have guns?  Second is should there be controls on the right to have certain types of guns?  Third how should gun related crimes be punished?  Finally how do we educate people to be more aware of gun ownership, possession, and use in public.  Answering the questions might provide the solutions to America's problem.  Hopefully I answer those questions, but maybe not in the order presented.

      First America needs to get over its love affair with the gun.  It is simply a tool that used properly can protect our rights as citizens.  Used improperly it becomes a threat to society.  The first thing America needs is an understanding that there is a clear and well defined cost for the misuse or abuse of the privilege of having a gun.  In my opinion there should be a price for using a gun in the commission of a crime.  Even if it is never fired.  Using a gun in the commission of a crime should carry at least a five year minimum sentence.  Just the threat of taking or endangering others lives should require such punishment.  There should be no plea bargains and no deals.  You did it, you pay the price.  The only exception is if you can prove you were using the gun to save your life, or the life of another.  Defending your family,home, property and life should be clearly defined as acceptable uses of force.  Threatening a persons life should be treated accordingly.  If a person actually shoots or wounds someone in the commission of a crime the absolute minimum sentence should be ten years.  There should be no appeals, no time off for good behavior or plea bargains.  If you actually kill a person you should technically be dead yourself.  You should get life in prison with no parole, no time off for good behavior or any other reason. A special prison should be created just for killers. It could be called the box.  You are put in a box, till you come out in a box. You take a life, you give up the rest of yours as simple as that.  The person you killed does not get a second chance, why should you.  The lack of clear and well defined laws is one of the problems with America today.  Here are some examples of the problems in America. Your illegal, but you have rights.  You smoke pot, but it is okay in your state for whatever reason.  Drinking and driving is wrong, but you will probably never go to jail unless you kill someone, or can't afford and attorney.

     Some states are moving toward legalizing pot.  I agree and feel it should really be all drugs.  Not because I want to use drugs.  I am tired of paying for not only catching the drug users, but incarcerating them and treating them when they overdue it.  Legalize it and tax the heck out of it.  Let them pay for their own treatment and pay their own way.  The price would go down so they would not have to rip us law abiding citizens off to get money for their habits. The war on drugs and alcohol (remember prohibition) have proved only one thing.  You can not legislate morality, but you can tax it.  Many people who approve of guns would go along with this. Yet when I say let the gun owners pay the tab for fixing the mess they have made of society with their guns they will scream like stuck pigs.  If a nation of alcoholics(based on the number of TV commercials for alcohol) can approve prohibition. Surely a nation that claims to be Christian should be able to overcome the gun lobbies.  Real Christians would pass legislation to protect society from the crazies.

     The above may sound harsh, but I formed my opinions over 65+ years of life.  I have personally seen young people imprisoned at fourteen for murder and then paroled or let out at 21 because the law said that was the maximum sentence they could get.  Then upon release from prison they managed to kill more innocent people or injure a person in such a manner that the person suffers for the rest of their life from the injuries received.  When I mentioned ten years above for shooting someone.  That should be the absolute minimum.sentence.  If they put a person in a wheelchair for life, a longer sentence is justified.  People who take lives either have no respect for life, or they consider other lives worth less than theirs.  Society should consider every life of value, from conception to the grave.  After all it is the Constitution that says we have  a right to "life", liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Failure to respect other people's lives should carry a very harsh yet clear cost to the person who does so.  Removing the plea bargaining and making clear the cost of ones actions is the best method of providing and orderly society.  The refusal to accept responsibility is half the problem in America today.  A couple people take an immoral romp in the hay. Then when the consequences of their actions start to manifest themselves they believe society should take care of the problem they created.  Don't get me wrong. I love children, but people who have them need to do take care of them.  It should not be a responsibility or burden on society.

     The second thing that should happen is that America should have a mandatory education system on the rights and costs of gun ownership.  Children should be educated on the Constitution and it's importance to the society we live in.  Children should also be taught at a young age the ethics and value of all life.  The lives of others as well as their own.  Children should be taught in school how to handle weapons and how to shoot them.  Yes this would cost a lot of money to do, but I have an answer and a way to pay for it. Finishing the classes will determine if a person has a "right" to own a gun later in their life.  People who are in America visiting or are illegally here should have no rights to have, own, or possess a gun for any reason.

    This final item will create a lot of argument, but I have paved the way to where I am going.  We are not taking away the right to own guns.  We are interested in making sure those who have guns understand the responsibility that comes with that ownership.  In my opinion, I spent thirteen years in the Army so I know what guns can do and are capable of doing.  Again as I said, "This is my opinion."  The only guns Americans should be entitled to have, are single action weapons.  Weapons you must physically cock or load each time you shoot it.  That would include some pistols, bolt action rifles and a muzzle loaders.  Any weapon that you can simply keep pulling the trigger till it is empty is in a different category.  The only ones who should be allowed to possess or carry semi-automatic or automatic weapons are law enforcement.  Anyone else who wants a semi-automatic or automatic weapon should be required to have a permit, which should be renewable annually for a fee.  Just like the license plate on your car. In fact I personally would require each weapon to have a title and require it to be transferred every time a gun is sold.  Each weapon should be taxed annually also.  To get a permit to own an automatic weapon should require both and a mental and a background check.  If a weapon is used in a crime the licensed owner should be accountable.  It would not have to be an outrageous fee.  Ten dollars per weapon would be adequate.  Some will say, "but I have a hundred guns."  That is fine, just have as many as you can afford. The fees from this program would be used to pay for the gun education programs and registration programs.  Single action weapons would be exempt from registration and license fees.  Only those who want "special privileges" would pay for the programs. Legislators looking for a source of revenue, here is a potentially big one.

      The two largest mass murders in America did not even involve handguns.  Oklahoma City and 9/11 happened without a shot being fired.  All over the Middle East people die everyday and a shot is not fired.  Crazies will kill people if they are so inclined whether they have guns or not.  Educating society about how to get along would do far more than any gun laws ever will.

      I can hear the outcry but think about this.  This nation was made independent with single shot weapons. It was preserved as a nation with single shot weapons.  A single shot weapon well aimed is far more dangerous than a random spray of bullets.  Several of our own Presidents have paid the ultimate price to learn that. If you become President, believe it or not,  based on history you have a one in ten chance you will die in office.  Murder is nothing new, it is the escalation of frequency.  That and the lack of reason is what is making us more aware of the problem. The education and training of the citizens is in the interest of preserving our nation.  No one needs a rapid firing weapon for killing Bambi or taking out a rabbit or a squirrel.  Weapons that do more than that are for warfare and killing people, not animals.  There is no intention of taking away guns, but on educating the citizenship on their rights.  There is no intention to limit the number of guns you can have.  The intention is provide a system that makes it harder for the crazies to get the guns.  If you want the freedom to own the weapons, the tax is simply the price you pay for that right.  Much like property taxes, and license plates are the price one pays for ownership of those items.  Insurance companies might look into ensuring gun owners as a new source of revenue, instead of charging me deductibles so I will not use the insurance I have already paid them for.

     The final point I would make is that if you own a gun you are responsible for securing it.  If it happens to be used in the commission of a crime, you should be held to account as to why you were not in control of  the weapon you owned.  Failure to maintain  your control should be grounds for forfeiting your rights. The privilege of ownership comes with the duty and responsibility of safely securing your weapons.

1 comment:

  1. Nice blog Ric. Very much relate to your walk with Jesus... I agree with this, but only to a degree. It's a tricky issue.

    The Egyptian King wanted Moses killed for killing an Egyptian. Just as well for Israel that he fled for his life. Just as well for Israel that he lived.

    Not that such a case could be made out for the modern perpetrators, but there is always the exception to the rule, and sometimes that one exception turns out to be a thousand times "the man", to the rule. Sometimes the exception can change the course of His Story.

    The question is, what would Jesus's view be, on forgiveness and redemption, and if you incarcerate someone in a box until they come out in a box, what opportunity do they ever have to not only atone, but make better?

    My father was conscripted into the 2nd world war, and hated much of what he saw and did, and I would say, that it made him a much better person in the long run. But there were things we were never told, because they grieved him too much.