I didn’t do my usual posts on Facebook over the weekend, just a few pretty pictures in the hope of raising spirits following Friday’s horrific event in Connecticut. What I did notice was the self-righteous douche-baggery of some of the Facebook comments.
Following the tragedy came the usual call for the immediate ban of all privately owned firearms. And as usual, the people calling for disarmament were from people who don’t own guns, have never owned guns, would never own guns and cannot understand why a person who does own guns wouldn’t immediately dispose of them in light of the recent school shootings. And as usual these commenters completely ignored the horrifically violent consequences of attempting to forcibly disarm the American public, or that a disarmed populace could fall under the rule of a dictator or at the very least find themselves at the mercy of some lunatic who has broken into their home.
Apparently it’s more important to these people to bemoan cruel fate and point accusingly at those not as enlightened, than it is to buckle down and create possible solutions.
People need to remember the United States is a cowboy country, birthed in blood and violence. The American people have always had the right to own guns and have handled that responsibility well over the last 200 plus years considering what a diverse nation we are. Since the school shootings are a relatively new event, we should instead look into what has changed over the past two decades.
One possibility may be the ultra-violent video games. Having written several young adult novels and having met these teens during my book tours, I can tell you from firsthand experience that young people are VERY impressionable. So our first step should be to stop them from viewing games that promote cruelty, sadism and torturous violence and instead reinforce the basic values we were taught as kids. My suggestions:
· No graphically violent video games may be sold to or viewed by anyone under 18. Shops that sell them would be under the same restrictions as selling alcohol. Adults owning such games would be required to keep them locked away. And if any child is found in the possession of a violent video game, the owner of that game would be fined $1,000.00
· If you don’t already, staring bringing your child to religious services. My generation was dragged to our respective houses of worship every week and overall, we turned out all right. Instilling a strong sense of right and wrong early can keep a kid on the right path when life gets tough and may help cut down on the rising rate of teen suicides.
· Teach your kids to defend themselves. And back them up when necessary. Most of these rampages were from kids who were bullied and ostracized. When my daughter was bullied in the 2nd grade, I went to the principal and told him to make it stop. He explained that the bully came from a broken home and had ‘Issues’. I explained that the next time that kid laid a hand on my daughter, she was going to retaliate. So I taught her how to fight. The next time he punched her in the stomach, she gave him a black eye and a fat lip.
He never bothered her again.
But clearly those suggestions won’t be enough. We need to come up with a reasonable compromise on the rules that both sides can agree on. For example:
· Any person ever diagnosed with a mental illness may not purchase, receive or possess any type of firearm EVER.
· Any person owning a gun must be able to provide a receipt of that purchase. Doesn’t matter where it was bought but there must be a proper bill of sale and if that person loses it, he/she would have to turn in the gun to authorities.
· A person convicted of a crime indicating a lack of personal responsibility like drunk-driving, domestic violence, child abuse, or illegal drug possession, would be banned from possessing a firearm.
· Any person purchasing a firearm would have to prove they possess a security system to prevent theft, like an alarm system or gun safe.
· All gun owners would be required by law to have trigger locks on ALL their guns when not on their person.
· And most importantly, the gun owner would be held personally responsible for any action or crime committed by the use of that firearm.
My point? Self-righteous douche-baggery begins with one person trying to force his or her views on someone else without taking into consideration the valid points of the opposition. Gun ownership is an American right, but that being said, it is also a HUGE responsibility. And if gun-owners want to keep that right, they MUST make absolutely sure they are the ONLY person with access to their firearms and in addition, should wholeheartedly support severe penalties on gun owners and gun sellers who are lax, irresponsible and whose weaponry is getting our loved ones killed.
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