A plan for gun control in the land of guns

The long-term plan: I recently came across a web page with an article titled “A cure for mass shootings doesn't exist.” What a cop-out, I have to say. So I finally dug up some thoughts on the issue that have crossed my mind for years and put them in writing.

True, there are people dying on a daily basis from many other things besides mass shootings—car crashes, drugs, etc.—one of these days southern California is going to get hit by a major earthquake, and one of these days another hurricane is going to cause death and destruction somewhere along the southern coast. But what, of course, makes gun violence (like terrorism) especially detrimental to society is the fact it is no accident.

I see two aspects to the present state of gun violence, one is human nature, and the other must be cultural—something about present society that spurs certain vulnerable people to commit such acts.

My own grandfather used to carry a shotgun to school and store it in his locker to go rabbit hunting after school. No one thought a thing of it. So how did we get from there to absolute insanity, with schools slowly being turned into maximum security facilities?

As for the cultural connection, it must have something to do with all of the ways we have to communicate with one another these days. Anyone with homicidal thoughts can now find and/or learn about others with like thoughts, not to mention witnessing their actions, with only a few mouse clicks or thumb taps (So I’m not such a freak, after all. I guess I will just become like so and so, and commit my own mass shooting). Add that to an endless amount of violence-depicting fictional media that has otherwise accumulated, and . . . And there really isn’t anything that can be done about this aspect without throwing free speech and free press out the window—very bad. Of course, there are a couple more obvious differences between that time (circa 1918) and the present, and that is a much greater population with ever larger schools.

As for the human nature aspect, humanity now has—for the first time—the ability to take control of its evolution, and do so without implementing any sort of Draconian liberty-crushing measures.  No amount of chanting to the gods, draconian laws, or piling more guns on top of guns is ever going to stop gun violence, terrorism, or war. But if the genetic factors that bring out the worst of our nature can be found and eradicated from the entire human population, it most certainly could not hurt the situation.

So the long-term plan is, cure the cause of the illness instead of trying to treat all of the symptoms with snake oil and Peptobismo.

End note: Some advice for the young: I have heard talk of raising the age to buy guns. I would strongly advise not letting any such laws go into effect under any circumstance. If there is anything I have learned, it is that most any institution, such as a government, school, or corporation will squash your freedom and privacy--one item after another--simply because they can and you (the people or students) let them get away with it. I would point out that many mass shootings, such as the recent Los Vegas shooting, were not carried out by teenagers; and most so called “adults” that I have known in my lifetime have no more actual maturity than the average ten-year old. Just look at Congress, for example.

The short term plan: As for the short term, I do have a suggestion, but it’s an expensive one. But first, a look at the present arguments from both sides of the gun debate:

The pro-gun people argue that many an unarmed group has been oppressed, and some literally exterminated, for lack of the ability to fight back. And the thing is, they’re right. They also argue that any ban on assault rifles would infringe on 2nd amendment rights. They argue that if someone wants to kill a lot of people, they will likely find another method. And they also argue that rapid fire weapons are a necessity because the government has so much fire power, these days. But I’m not so sure the arguments make so much sense when the group is busy exterminating each other.

The anti-gun people argue that the Constitution was written when 3 musket balls a minute was considered rapid fire, as opposed to about 90 RPM for a modern-day semi-automatic AR-15 (if the person’s trigger finger holds out), or hundreds of RPM with a bumpstock, therefore some common sense laws are a no-brainer regarding weapons that create a one-man army. And just because there might be other methods of mass murder does not mean we should simply throw up our hands and give up.

My suggestion:

Step1: Construct a series of fortified bunkers in which to store many thousands of guns. The guns would be transferred via a fully automated conveyor system to private booths, where the owner of a particular gun could fire the weapon.

Step2: If there is one thing that the worst of all of these mass shootings have in common, it is the detachable magazine. So congress decides to outlaw so-called high-capacity magazines. Big deal, I have to say. So a shooter can only shoot 15 bullets instead of 30 (or whatever) before they can pop in another magazine in mere seconds and resume: Is that really supposed to make a dent in gun deaths in the USA? So the next step is to outlaw the transportation or ownership of any gun that utilizes a detachable magazine—outside of one of the secure facilities. For any new purchases of such firearms, the gun would be transported directly from the manufacturer to the facility under tight security and in disassembled form. 

Step 3: A different panel of ten non-military, non-government individuals will be elected by the gun owners to operate each facility, and to each hold a unique code, which would release all of the weapons from the facility to their respective owners, but only in combination with at least seven of the other codes. In other words, only by the authorization of eight individuals could the guns be released.

The general idea is to secure the guns, yet create a means of making them available should the elected panel deem it necessary. Hence, the government would still have reason to “fear” the public, while the gun owners could shoot their weapons all they wanted, just not take them home unless released by the mutual cooperation of the elected panel.

So who would pay for the construction of the bunkers/shooting ranges? I think the NRA would make an excellant candidate. The gun owners would then sustain the facilities’ operation with membership fees.

A couple web pages I sourced for this article:
how long does it take to reload a 17th century musket? | Yahoo Answers
How many rounds does a semi-automatic rifle fire per minute? - Quora

9/09/18: I have been taking a closer look at the historical data regarding mass shootings, and it only confirms my initial observation regarding automatic weapons: No question about it, the vast majority of the mass shootings in the US were, indeed, carried out using semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines and/or pistols with detachable magazines.

Another observation: While neither mass shootings or school shootings are a phenomena that did not exist before 1965, 1965 seems to mark the beginning of the purely sociopathic mass shooting, with victims chosen at random.

Searching for an environmental cause, one item keeps popping up again and again, and that is the growing use of anti-depressants—and Valium. Not only has the use of antidepressants increased greatly since they were first introduced in the middle of the last century, the antidepressants themselves have become more powerful. But the picture is incomplete: If you search for an in-depth study regarding anti-depressants, you won’t find much, and what you will find is conflicting. And some pertain to other gene pools, (i.e., outside the US). I somehow doubt that I am the only one who finds it more than a little ironic, not to mention repugnant, that the US government, which has played the communist super-nanny for nearly a century against the common pot smoker, has largely decided to sit on its hands regarding a class of substances that likely really do cause extreme violence and mayhem.

So if you would like to see a chart comparing the use of antidepressants with the incidence of mass shootings, don’t bother looking; you probably won’t find anything. But here is something to consider: The US had one mass shooting in 1965. The US population was 194.3 million. The US population in 2017 was 325.7 million, an increase by a factor of about 1.7, yet the US had 18 more mass shootings than 1965.

So while many may benefit from antidepressants and various modern sedatives, they are clearly part of the equation in regards to many mass shootings. Well, I am as powerless as the next guy; all I can do is offer suggestions: Either discontinue the medications (like Congress is going to stamp out an 80 billion/year industry even if the people wanted them to), or what I have already suggested—lock up the most dangerous weapons and invest in the science of finding possible genetic causes for such behavioral abnormalities as chronic depression and homicidal thoughts, and eliminating the sequences from the human population.

Recommended further reading: Psychiatric Drugs and Mass Shootings

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2-23-18, last rev = 10/21/18
2018 Dave Conklin