Last week we had another school shooting. This one wasn’t particularly large (I realize it’s horrific to put it that way) but it garnered more than one news cycle because the shooter wasn’t the typical troubled-loner-teen striking out against bullying peers, no this guy was apparently popular and got on well with his fellows. The news media is in a near ebola level of excitement trying to puzzle out why Jaylen Fryberg would gun down half a dozen of his friends and family.
I respectfully submit that’s the wrong question. The question shouldn’t be why would a popular kid killed two and injured more before killing himself the question should be “why did he have access to a gun?” I saw only one news report which commented on the fact that he was a hunter and there were lots of guns in the home. Our dreadful second amendment rights are apparently inalienable…nobody, certainly no politician, will have the testicular fortitude to stand up against the NRA right-wingnuts and take any kind of stand against guns…Ok I’m at peace with that…but. I can’t put up a garden shed without yards of planning approval. I can’t play loud music or smoke a cigarette in a public place without the full force of the law descending on me…I can’t run my dog on the beach or drive a car which has failed a smog test. None of those things are anywhere near as deadly as giving unfettered access to guns to emotionally disturbed teenagers. It makes no kind of sense that we strictly control access of alcohol to teens yet there is no similar stricture about guns.
If the NRA machine dictates that we much have guns all over our society why can’t we demand that owners take appropriate care of their deadly macho toys. Let’s make gun safes mandatory, let’s make trigger guards with fingerprint security ubiquitous. If we can secure our iPhones with a fingerprint why not our guns? We are a technology soaked society with overbearing rules about almost everything…except guns. If we must have guns (and I maintain we don’t need them) then let’s restrict access so that the next troubled teen having a bad hair day can’t readily get access. Let’s make them fire up the angle grinder, then let’s make them cut off a parents index finger to unlock the weapon.
I am heartily sick of the carnage the combination of inadequet mental health care and excessive access to guns generates, we are supposed to be a civilised society…why are we asking the wrong questions?