OK, so, there are bigger things going on than Ken Ulman vetoing the land bill, and casinos being open 24 hours. Let's discuss a little what went on in Newtown, CT yesterday and the implications for American society.
The first and greatest reaction we are having is that we need additional laws to control handgun ownership in this country. Understandable reaction. However, we need to consider a few things, and these things are simply my opinion. First, there are legitimate sporting reasons for gun ownership-- hunting-- if nothing else. Second, although this is highly debatable, I do feel that private ownership of guns is a right given to citizens in the Second Amendment. I know, we are not a militia. Still, I do feel that right is given to us and lies there.
Third, if early reports are correct, the shooter's mother owned the handguns he used to destroy this school. What's the safeguard against someone having access to and use of someone else's weapon? I guess thumbprint activation of handguns would be a solution there.
I have long supported the idea that users of guns should have to possess a license to own and operate handguns. And that a process should be established along the same lines of obtaining drivers licenses. This would be overlaid upon existing processes, including all relevant background checks. Perhaps this measure, in addition to something like the thumbprint activation in the handle of weapons to make sure that it is the owner who operates a gun, are reasonable measures that American society can embrace. But I suspect that we have, as of yesterday, entered into a national debate that will take years to resolve.
Next, this person had some sickness of the soul that compelled him to commit this horrible act. At this moment not much is known about his background, but obvious that he possessed some severe mental health issues. I will be interested to know what we find out of this young man. I suspect that we will learn that he had serious untreated, possibly even undiagnosed, mental illness.
I bristled at some profilers who simply said that this person was arrogant, self-centered, and craved attention. Well, duh. Of course. The real question is: why??? My contention is that there is a disease this man possessed that manifested itself in these personality traits, and was expressed, terribly, horribly, by these behaviors.
Last-- for the victims, their families, and their community. All of their lives are forever changed. 20 children will not enjoy Christmas, or the remainder of their Hannukah, or the New Year. On a clear, cold Friday morning, one can imagine that the atmosphere inside that school was not unlike inside one of ours. Students and staff were preparing for their end of week spelling tests, kids were reading, and everyone was starting to think about the coming weekend. In that community, they were thinking about finishing their shopping, who to buy for, and maybe the weekend's youth basketball and hockey games. Or scout events. Then, this. Then, their community's fabric is suddenly shredded and burned. My heart goes out to these people, and I pray for their strength.
How lucky we are in Howard County to have never had to suffer anything near such a soul-searing tragedy. And may we never have to.