Is our society running completely off the rails?....
For our shocked selves it is possible only to raise questions, not answer them. One thing is clear:
EVERYTHING MUST BE ON THE TABLE.
SOME QUESTIONS--without implying priority:
1. Are there constitutionally sound new regulations governing access to guns that can be made more effective than existing laws, without undermining legitimate demand for guns for self-defense and limited sporting use?
2. Can we devise ways to more effectively spot troubled children--especially vulnerable young males--and intervene to ward off disaster, including, if so judged necessary by competent medical authority, forcible institutionalization?
3. Should schools separate troubled children to target them with special help, and if so would this better safeguard all schoolchildren?
4. Should existing legal constraints--statutes, civil rights & tort suits, etc.--to vigorous intervention be removed, or at least modified?
5. Should political correctness & multicultural norms be removed, or at least modified, to enable intervenors to act decisively if need be?
6. Should we impose constitutionally sound new restrictions on content from Hollywood, Internet video-game providers, the music recording industry, and, yes, the mass media, as to material or coverage that glorifies, or unduly spotlights, various forms of intense violence & promotes trash culture?
This is hardly an exhaustive list. It covers what Charles Krauthammer, on Fox News, with his usual precision, called the three essential elements for inquiry: the shooter, the weapon & the environment. Call it a start, and let all approach these issues with humility and a willingness to re-examine old positions.
For example, gun control opponents should revisit issues like wider background checks, assault weapons & firearm licensing--earlier this year background checks were tabled by the administration due to political risks associated with gun control measures. Proposals must, of course, be evaluated as to efficacy--for example, on "assault weapon" bans. ABC's George Will notes that the 1994 decade-long assault weapon ban had no discernible statistical impact on shootings. One common misconception: mass shootings are more common today--is not true, writes John Fund, who also notes that the worst killing sprees include some in Europe. But perhaps now some improved controls may be devised; it is at least worth a look.
Conversely, gun control proponents should reconsider forcible intervention to help troubled children--a bill to introduce that in Connecticut was defeated by civil liberties & privacy advocates earlier this year. Mona Charen at NRO offers startling numbers--available institutional beds for the mentally ill have declined by 95 percent since 1955; states with outpatient treatment program show widespread lax enforcement; 5 to 10 percent of the mentally ill commit 5 percent of America's annual homicides. No doubt there are myriad other examples.
Legislating in haste oft makes waste, in the forms of inartfully directed, or poorly designed & hence ineffective initiatives. Let a national commission be established to take six months, even a year, to propose possible new approaches across a broad range of policy areas. Jed Babbin offers advice from a former SEAL on creative coping solutions. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) offered sage advice (6:18) on Fox News Sunday
Special praise is due President Obama for his immensely gracious, sensitive Friday remarks at a time of national tragedy. He avoided the egregiously opportunistic exploitation indulged in by shameless politicians, those more attuned to their policy hobby horses than to rising above partisanship at a time of shared national mourning.
In his Sunday speech he did exhort Americans to come together and take decisive action, moving past the politics of the moment, yet his remarks were unsettling. Though he did not openly allocate blame, it is clear he intends to move on gun control and, possibly, on other issues as well. His impatience implies there will not be a wait for a national commission. However, his reciting the first names of those children so cruelly taken was a fitting close.
Here is a lovely portrait of Newtown, by a longtime resident.
Bottom Line. Now is not the time, during national grief, to act. Better to consider carefully first, and then act upon proper fact-finding, debate & review.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, Conservative Politics