Gun Control, mental health and rights

One of the things I’m seeing a number of people say is “one guy with a shoe bomb and I have to take off my shoes to get on an airplane. But we can’t talk about gun control!”

I hate airport security theater. Hate. Hate. Hate. It is evil, it strips rights away from law abiding people in the US. It is borne of a need to look like we’re doing something and distracts from what we could be doing to actually make air travel safer. I am a firm believer that if a terrorist gets to an airport, that is a security failure in and of itself. Terrorists should be stopped before they get to the airport.

Or the school.

I’ve been mostly following the coverage on the BBC website. I don’t trust most of the US outlets to fact check before they publish something. One thing I saw today is that he tried to buy a gun yesterday, but was turned away from the store.

That tells me that more gun control isn’t necessarily the answer. The laws we have in place stopped him from buying a gun. The weapons he used were legally purchased. The “security theater” in this case is stopping people from lawfully buying guns if they may have a family member that is unstable or prone to violence.

Um. Isn’t that most of us?

I don’t quite understand most of the people who so loudly argue that guns are a right. To me, they sound very, very scared of everything and think the only way to protect themselves is to arm themselves. But I do understand rights, and I do know that the courts have upheld the 2nd amendment in ways that mean we should respect those rights. (Oh, how I wish someone had standing to take a 4th amendment case to the Supreme court, but that’s a bit of a pipe dream.)

I also don’t necessarily buy that he was mentally ill. Not everyone who acts in an evil fashion is doing it from illness. Sometimes they are just Bad and Wrong. And they do Bad and Wrong things. But that is something that we will know more about in the days to come.

I do think, though, that there is something about our current culture that has gone off the rails. I don’t even know what the underlying issue might be, or how to tease out what to do about it. But it really seems like there is a lack of inhibition or an inability to deal with anger or frustration that triggers certain people to do awful things. We think about it when we hear about these mass shootings. But I can’t help thinking there is a socialization problem. Something we, as a society, are failing at. Or maybe not.

But, I can’t help thinking we’ve gone wrong somewhere. I just have no idea where.


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