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Mass Shootings and Political Theater

James Beal

Posted on June 7, 2022 22:30

2 users

Once again we are faced with mass school (and other) shootings. Both sides drag out their best political theatrics to garner votes and wait for things to calm down. Nothing of substance will be accomplished.

It is sickening. It is just sickening. Another school shooting and more useless rhetoric from the right and the left. Both sides fighting over gun control. Nothing will be done. Let's face it. This level of school violence has become acceptable. There is only momentary outrage, some political theater, and meager efforts to advance or defend each side's agenda.  A couple of news cycles later, outrage dies down, and people return to their misguided view that it will not happen in their community or to their children. 


We need to stop this cycle. We have to realize that the solution is multifaceted. A focus on the nearly futile struggle over gun control masks other causes and solutions;.but for now, let us turn to guns.


In order to make progress, the Left has to acknowledge that guns will not and cannot be eliminated.  There are more legal guns in the US than citizens, as well as countless illegal arms. Likewise, the Right has to abandon the notion that gun ownership is absolute and without any limitations. Both sides must focus on responsibility.


In a civil society, all rights come with responsibility. No rights are absolute.  Gun ownership comes with the responsibility to secure them from unauthorized use, use them properly for sport, limited legal personal protection, and assume responsibility if they are misused by anyone. With hundreds of millions of legal guns in circulation, some may say that enforcing this is impossible.

It is not impossible. Political will, driven by popular outrage, can move this forward quickly.


First, there is the matter of criminal liability. This legislation should be rather straightforward and easy to find agreement on. Quite simply, it would hold gun owners criminally responsible if anyone in a crime uses their gun.  


The second is civil liability.  Gun owners must be made civilly liable for damages caused by their weapons, no matter who uses them. Gun owners should be required to carry civil liability insurance just as we require car owners.


Third, is instituting universal background checks, raising the age to 21, and requiring periodic training and testing. These are akin to that which is required for driving. Driving regulations do not unreasonably impinge on people's freedom of movement or right to assembly.  


Last, we need to dispel the myth that guns somehow protect our freedom and that an armed population stops government oppression.  Recent legislation aimed at oppressing students in our public schools is only one example of how government repression marches on without regard to personal firearm ownership.  That is a topic for the future.

James Beal

Posted on June 7, 2022 22:30

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Source: Al Jazeera
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Biden wants a ban on assault weapons, but even universal background checks face a tough, but possible, path forward.

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