Kneejerk reactionism rarely works out like you hope

In light of the Sandy Hook tragedy, renewed calls for gun control is hardly surprising.  This isn’t unusual.  People, now terrified that the same thing could have happened to their children, turn to their elected officials to do something to make the problem go away.

This isn’t the first time this has happened either.  After 9/11, people wanted something that would make sure this would never happen again.  What we got was the Department of Homeland Security, the TSA, and the Patriot Act.  The Fourth Amendment was gutted in an effort to catch “terrorists.”  Our ability to travel freely is now interfered with by a group of people who look more like the cast of a sitcom than a barrier against terrorist acts.  But the politicians “did something.”

Now, in light of Sandy Hook, we find ourselves at the same crossroads.  Battle lines are being drawn as you read this.  People who don’t even consider themselves pro-gun control are calling for limits in the round capacity of magazines.  Others are expecting gun rights advocates to defend reasons why certain features should be legal, rather than understanding that they don’t change the function of the weapon in any way and therefore a ban would be idiotic.

The kneejerking is normal.  On May 31, 2012, I went through it myself.  That’s the day I learned that Kimberly Lynn Layfield was murdered in a shooting at the Cafe Racer in Seattle, Washington.  Kim was a good friend of mine from high school, someone I treasured knowing more than almost anyone else.  My initial reaction? That my views on guns had been wrong for all these years. (For the record, I don’t know where Kim or her family stood on gun control on that day, nor how her family stands on it now)

I’ve sense settled down and realize that a man named Ian Stawicki was the one responsible for the act.  He made a conscious decision to take human lives, and he’s the one we need to blame for what happened.

With regard to Sandy Hook, we need to take a step back and calm down.  Oh, I have no problem debating gun rights in the least.  However, it needs to be about facts, not emotion.  This goes for both sides.  After all, I’m not sure we need a program to arm teachers either at this point.  We need to calm down and debate this rationally first.

Unfortunately, rational debate won’t happen right now.  That’s not surprising either, but we need to wait until it can.  Could another tragedy happen?  In theory, it could.  However, it’s unlikely.  If we don’t wait though, the tragedy could be new laws that we find out later we can’t really deal with.  Unfortunately, laws are rarely repealed anymore.  Despite near universal condemnation of the TSA and how they do business, there is little traction on the idea of getting rid of them.  They’re here to stay folks.

Let’s not jump the gun in the name of “doing something.”  Let’s take a few deep breaths and have the right debate at the right time for a change.

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