Since the conversation in the nation surrounds gun control, I thought I would chime in with my 2 cents. Although I am bleeding heart liberal commie loving pinko, I do not want to take away the guns. I have heard some insane rhetoric from both sides of the aisle and I think what we need now is some logic. Cue the scientists, right?
1) These incidents of mass murder will continue to happen. There is no way to stop them (short of a retroactive ban on all guns, which will not happen). Therefore, I think we need some serious public education (think, earthquake or fire drill) on how to deal with a situation involving a shooter. As far as I can tell, the best thing we can do is delay the shooter from getting to his targets, and hope the first responders can get there first. Some ways to delay a shooter are through locked or barricaded doors. Public education should include a primer on things like "stop and drop", to not engage the shooter in any manner, and to find shelter by locking or barricading doors. Since these incidents have occurred at schools, I think we should really think about having the ability to "lock down" schools - why were some of the teachers at Sandy Hook unable to lock their classroom doors? A plan of action should be in place at all public schools (and businesses too) so that people know what the heck to do when the situation arises.
2) The old adage "The only person that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun" is not necessarily true. If the "good guy" is someone who practices with their guns daily, and essentially trains like a police officer or military person would, then yes, perhaps. However, the vast majority of gun-owners are people just like you and me who occasionally go out shooting or hunting, but don't really practice their craft all that much. Shooting is an intense sport, and it required level-headedness, as well as physical and mental skill. Shooting someone else in the heat of a moment when your life is threatened is nearly impossible without proper training. I think we should leave the idea of responding to a threat up to the professionals.
3) While there are telling statistics out there (like, adding guns to your household increases the chance of you being involved in a violent crime THREE-fold!), there are not enough statistics to prove how dangerous guns are. While some statistics are collected, a large number are suppressed by the US Government. We desperately need these statistics to be released to the public to be analyzed in order to look at the last several years of gun violence. The fact that these stats are unavailable concerns me greatly.
4) We need to have a conversation about what to do with kids that are "different". Adam Lanza, by all accounts that I read, was a difficult child and teachers were unable to deal with him. His mother then removed him from school and home-schooled him. I think that isolation and withdrawl from society is an enormous problem and it's something that we as a country need to address. What do we do with kids who learn differently, or who act out in class. Clearly, we are not taking the right path in this and I think this needs to be addressed.
5) It's become more and more clear to me that we need a single payer, universal health care system in the US. We also need mental health care to improve, and we need everyone to have access to mental health care. We need to stop supressing this idea that health care is only physical, and not mental.
6) I do believe that some measures can stall a person from committing a violent crime. If a person does not have access to a magazine that holds 30 bullets, maybe their gun will jam when they go to reload. However, I think the best case scenario is prevention. Let's prevent this from happening again by becoming involved in our communities, by chatting with the quiet kid in the corner, by reconnecting with our society as a whole. We need to look out for one another, and our iPhone-loving society has really taken the personal interconnections out of our lives. Make a phone call, visit a friend, connect with that lady you pass in the hall each day. Make an effort to be nice to people. Kill them with kindness and appreciation, even when you don't feel like it. Let's not make people feel like outsiders. Let's make everyone feel included and loved.
And thus concluded my hippy-dippy liberal pinko commie public service announcement.