Saturday, December 15, 2012

Can we stop the massacres?

No doubt there was a string of gun laws that were broken by Adam Lanza during the commission of the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. It was reported that the two pistols and assault rifle he used were purchased by and registered to Lanza's mother. That he had access to the guns is most likely a law broken. Walking out of the house with them may be another law broken. I haven't seen it reported whether Lanza had a permit to carry, but if he did, he broke a number of laws that go along with that license.

One aspect of these school shootings that we tend to overlook is that we have created safe places for mass murders to commit their crimes. Lanza could assume that the school, or any school for that matter, would be void of people who could take action against him. Firearms are prohibited on school campuses, so there is no hesitance by a criminal to enter such a place, knowing that there will be no resistance; no trained personnel with access to weapons designed to thwart such an attack.

Five minutes of uninterrupted shooting would seem like an eternity; more than ample time to kill dozens of defenseless people before law enforcement's arrival. This is the other side of the double-edged sword that is created by outlawing guns in publicly-owned buildings without providing for the security of the unarmed occupants. We passed these laws with the intent of making places safer that, in reality, put innocent people at risk.

What can be done to stop senseless killings? It is very difficult to defend against someone who does not value his own life. Lanza wasn't planning to be arrested or to get away. He knew he would be one of the fatalities, either by his own hand or by law enforcement.

I have received several emails since the school shooting pleading for something to be done about these heinous incidents. I am asking you to weigh in with your suggestions and commentary.

My deepest sympathies go out to all of the families in Newtown who have been affected directly or indirectly by this despicable act.