After every high profile shooting, the usual suspects dance in the blood and cry out for a solution to “gun” violence. Somehow, knife, baseball, and fist violence don’t rate.
The proferred “solutions” always involve more rules and laws that restrict the rights of people who didn’t do it. Laws that, oddly enough, won’t apply to the folks perpetrating the violence. They specifically blame the innocent for the acts of criminals.
Laws that regulate things that had nothing to do with the shooting.
Laws that already don’t work.
When rational people point that out, the gun people controlling victim disarmers plug their ears and run around chanting, “Nyah, nyah; can’t hear you!” and claim we don’t have any better ideas.
Yes. I do. I’ve mentioned them a time or two over the decades. And for the disarmers’ convenience, here they are. Three basic reforms that would fix most of the “gun” (and other weapons) violence: incarceration, education, and defense.
End catch and release sentencing policies for violent criminals. If they’re that dangerous, you don’t need to be putting them back on the street. Repeat felons would not be eligible for plea bargains. Victim restitution must be included.
End “3 strikes” style sentencing guidelines that actually encourage criminals to escalate (i.e.- two time loser kills next victim to eliminate witnesses).
Reform sentencing guidelines to promote rehabilitation. Regardless of sentence length, the criminal will not be eligible for parole or release until he has successfully completed a course of study. For first offenders without a high school diploma, that can be a General Equivalency Diploma program. For repeat offenders and those who have a high school diploma or GED, it will be a trade school such as welding, machinist, mechanic. Also acceptable will be a college degree program in hard sciences (physics, chemistry, biology, etc.) or engineering. Soft sciences (sociology, psychology, etc.) or liberal arts that prepare one for a career as a minimum wage barista will not qualify. Some industries or businesses might sponsor training programs, for a source of skilled workers who they’ve had a chance to observe improving their lot.
Instead of eliminating questions about criminal history from job applications, we could add, “And what new useful skill are you bringing me that experience?”
Divert money from victim disarming “gun” control programs to increase staffing and training in parole offices. The goal there is to have sufficient parole and probation officers to properly supervise and counsel their subjects. Parole/probation should require gainful employment or continuing — successful — education (maintain C average, for instance).
The public school system is broken. Taken over by education majors who’ve rewritten the rules to require an education major to be a teacher, rather than a degree in the subject(s) taught. Schools focus on socialization over learning. They’re full of the latest, ever-evolving theories of teaching subjects they do not understand The result is high school graduates who are not literate enough to fill out a job application or capable of balancing a check book. Too often those people — otherwise unemployable — fail at boring unskilled labor and turn to lucrative crime.
Schools must abandon social justice, and teach basic skills: reading (to the point of reading a novel and comprehending it), writing (to the point of drafting a comprehensible resume cover letter), mathematics (balancing a check book and estimating whether you’ve got enough gas in the tank to reach your destination), basic science (basic laws or motion, enough biology to under what allosomes do in mammals, enough chemistry to understand why mixing vinegar and baking soda doesn’t make a great cleaning product, and why there’s no such thing as chemical-free food). I had a science who believed that potatoes have zero calories.
Classes that teach actual life skills like old style home economics, shop, and basic firearms safety are good.
English. English. English. Classes must teach and be taught in English. English has been the defacto majority language in the US for a very long time. If a person cannot function in English, she’ll be severely limited in employment and life opportunities.
America does not have the educational resources to hire qualified teachers in every subject for every possible at-home language. We cannot have parallel English/Spanish/Somali/Arabic/whatever curricula. If a student does not function at an age appropriate level in English, that student should be placed in a remedial English class until she achieves a level which allows her to successfully participate in the regular curriculum.
I knew two women at a company whose first language was Spanish. One woman only had a few words of English and had worked in her section for years. She could not get promoted up. As a new hire, I had to read instructions for her and show her how to do her job. She was not stupid; she simply never bothered learning English.
The other woman was fluent in spoken and written English. Since she was able to read technical manuals and parts diagrams, she was immediately hired in another department at a much higher wage.
If a Somali won’t learn English, he’ll most likely be restricted to his local Somalian community, with limited employment opportunities. Perhaps all he’ll be able to do for a living is sell drugs to his neighbors, in competition with folks who will shoot it out over turf.
End peer promotion. You aren’t protecting someone’s self-esteem by promoting him to a higher level where he’s going to fail again. Hold him back until he learns. If he’s ashamed to share a class with younger folks, he can work harder.
If he works hard enough, he can test to see if he is ready to rejoin his former classmates in the more advanced class. He can be proud that he accomplished something himself, instead of it being given to him. Maybe he’ll learn to appreciate that over a sense of entitlement.
For that, any student who believes herself to be ready can take the tests for high school graduation; if she passes — regardless of age — she gets her diploma and walks out.
It wouldn’t break my heart to see it made a felony to graduate a person who is functionally illiterate after twelve years of “schooling.” My sisters — 2 and 4 years older than I — taught me to read before I started school. We have “teachers” far less effective than a couple of untrained little girls.
The last time a nuclear weapon was used in combat on this planet was fifteen years before I was born. Like it or not, one reason for that was deterrence. Mutual Assured Destruction was… ahem, overkill, but no one dropped nukes because they didn’t want anyone replying in kind.
Criminals, being human, too, also realize this. There have surveys of inmates which showed that given a choice of targets, criminals will choose to avoid a potential victim they believe may be armed. I have personally heard convicted felons state that flatly.
I also saw a dayroom full of inmates who were watching a news report on “gun control.” Their consensus was that gun control, and firearms bans in particular, would be a good thing. One inmate gleefully noted how helpful it would be to disarm victims, and “I’ll always be able to get a gun when I’m out anyway.”
Please note that “studies” allegedly showing lower rates of violence or crime in places with stronger “gun” control typically lump in suicide with real crime, exclude violence with other implements, or use artificial — nonexistent, that is — “synthetic states” for comparisons. Cherry-picking time frames is also popular.
The reality is otherwise. Baltimore has strong “gun” control laws, and the highest murder rate in the country at more than 55 per 100,000 people. That’s worse than Venezuela or cartel-ridden Mexico. For that matter both Venezuela and Mexico have very restrictive gun laws.
Licenseless New Hampshire and Vermont generally vie for the last nationwide slot for homicides and violent crime.
So the ability of noncriminals to defend themselves will reduce violent crime; through deterrence and — if widespread — Darwinian selection. Dead would-be killers are rarely recidivists.
National reciprocal carry is a good start. National “constitutional carry” is better.
A national Stand Your Ground (SYG) law that places the burden of proving guilt on prosecution, rather than requiring an honest defender to prove his innocence, is good. If a criminal killer says, “I didn’t do it.” the burden of proof is on the prosecution. If a lawful gun owners, “I did it in self defense.” the burden shifts to him sans SYG.
The police must stop regarding a holstered or slung weapon as probably cause for stopping, questioning, and too often shooting noncriminals. Particularly when they, ironically, have holstered or slung weapons. Lawful gun owners make up such a tiny fraction of a percent of firearms-wielding murderers that being in possession of a car is as much an indicator of criminal intent as gun possession.
Divert money from useless gun “buybacks” to free firearms classes for the community. More people trained will mean more honest people carrying (deterring criminals who’ll probably have to move to Baltimore), and even fewer firearms accidents.
Kill the National Instant Check System (NICS). It doesn’t work. Really, they don’t. Mostly because criminals usually get their guns from their own social networks. Not even at gun shows or online sales.
But lawful gun owners who want protection from bad guys, don’t really want to inadvertently sell guns to bad guys. So put the thumb-twiddlers at NICS to work on “Blind Identification Database System” (BIDS). Either allow private sellers access to the system, or pay dealers to run the checks without paperwork (unless someone fails, maybe).
Establish “firearms assistance” programs for poor but honest folks who can’t afford guns, ammunition, and practice. If abortion, nowhere mentioned in the Constitution, is a right worthy of subsidy, certainly protection should be supported.
We need more ranges, too.
Local and state governments could promote self defense, and raise money for it, by running gun lotteries. Pow’R Ball, if you will. Prizes could be high end defensive tools, ammunition, accessories, gift cards, and range memberships.
There you have it the — already declining — problem of “gun” violence (all criminal violence) largely solved.
1. Teaching people the things they need to function in an honest society.
2. Providing second chances and skills to those who slip and survive.
3. Providing skills and equipment to those who want to stop the real violence.