More guns or less guns is the debate that has found itself front and center stage once again. The natural reaction to remove the instrument of threat after a seemingly avoidable tragedy is once again driving the debate with the goals to change the laws. However unfortunate as it is, the efforts seem to address the effect and are ignoring the cause.
When you look at guns, you must first understand the bigger picture. To understand the bigger picture, you must first replace the word gun(s) with weapon(s). Guns are but a single type of weapon, no different than a weapon of mass destruction. It does not matter what type of weapon it is. The accepted response to any weapon is a counter weapon, or better put if you nuke me, I will nuke you.
This type of response works well on people who more are less for lack of a better general word ‘sane’. The general acceptance that to launch a nuke at someone is just like launching a nuke on a boomerang. So for all practical logic if accessing someone’s survival instinct keeps them from launching a nuke, that is what you must do. However that response relies on both nuclear armed parties being sane.
However when you consider a terrorist who does not mind if he is killed or not and may actually prefer to die because of some religious belief, that deterrent suddenly becomes impotent. So if lack of sanity is an issue, it really does not matter if it is a terrorist with a nuke, or someone firing off clip after clip of ammunition in an elementary school at young innocent children. The only logical response is to stop them before they act.
The United States has taken this to task and created the Department of Homeland Security in an effort to stop an attack before it starts. Every time you pass a metal detector you are simply being checked, and that for the most part is the only effective way to deal with people who don’t care if they die or not in their effort to harm others.
So as tragic as it sounds, when mentally ill people go and start shooting up elementary schools or try to kill the President of the United States, the response needs to be a two pronged approach. The first is to intercept and intervene before it happens. If that fails and the person acts, the second response is to as quickly as possible neutralize that person.
In this case intercept and intervene requires a better response in the area of mental health. There are way too many people who need help that are not getting it. Identifying the people who pose a risk to the community and seeing that they get proper treatment is part of this. That should be followed up with seeing if these potential time bombs have access to weapons. If this sounds familiar, it should. Essentially that is the working model of the Department of Homeland Security.
Seeing that Homeland Security has had great success thus far, it seems to make sense that this now proven plan of action be extended to cover the mentally ill, and not necessarily taking weapons from people who are sane that would use them in self defense. It is important to treat the cause and not the effect in all cases big or small be it a bully at school, or a nut with a nuke.