[Cross Posted at Blog For Arizona]
After a week of "respectful" slience, the NRA was kind enough to educate us about gun violence once again. That's a good thing, because it's not intuitively obvious for all of us that everything but the guns themselves are causing people to die from gunshot fire. Very high on the list of causes (most of which can be blamed on weak kneed liberals) are the failure to arm our teachers and our shortcomings in detecting and treating the mentally ill. But I'm a bit perplexed, because the NRA didn't tell us where to start. Do we arm the teachers first or do we first find all the mentally ill, take their guns, and tell all the sellers at gun shows to memorize their names and faces and not sell to them (because gun show sellers shouldn't resort to running background checks)?
I'm guessing it's more straightforward to arm the teachers first, but that creates a dilemma: What do we do about the mentally ill teachers, especially the ones who don't care for guns all that much? I was watching cable the other day and the gun expert they had on was asked how he would address teachers who don't believe in guns. His immediate and wise explanation was "well I wouldn't have my child attending that teacher's class." Oh, I thought, if we take his lead only gun loving Americans will be teaching our kids. Well, that makes sense. If some liberal teacher is squeamish about guns, he's an un-American coward who shouldn't be teaching our kids anyhow.
But, still, I wonder if it's a tougher decision when the teacher understands the wonders of guns and the great benefit they bring to society, but also recognizes that because he has a mental health issue and shouldn't be carrying a gun. This is a real conundrum, I think. We could pay the teacher enough to allow him to get treatment for his mental health issues, but that would mean spending government dollars, which could necessitate a reversal of those tax increases the states gave to all the job creators (including the gun manufacturers, I suppose).
Well, minor detail I guess. Just because we have a few teachers who have anger management issues or who suffer from substance issues or depression doesn't mean good teachers should be without guns when madmen (but, so far, no madwomen) are loose. Oh wait, if we arm the principals, they can protect the kids from the armed and mentally ill teachers. Problem solved.
And, you know, when you think about it, arming the teachers works particularly well in states with stand your ground laws. If some unruly kid in a Miami school tries to intimidate a teacher, she can defend herself and not face criminal prosecution. Come to think of it, if Florida schoolteachers had been armed while Trayvon Martin was haunting the classrooms, poor George Zimmerman probably would have been spared his whole ordeal. I'm starting to appreciate the NRA's wisdom.
But I'm still having trouble with the whole mental health thing. How would the folks with mental health issues protect themselves if they can't go to a gun show and buy a Bushmaster? It doesn't seem fair that having a psychiatric problem means you're not allowed to defend yourself, even in your own home.
Oh I guess we'll work that out. There aren't that many people with mental health issues. And we don't have to find all of them. It's just the ones who are going to shoot up a school or a shopping mall we need to worry about, and there are only a few of them.
I do have this nagging concern things could get a bit tricky with older people. Many of us have had to take the car keys from parents after dementia set in. Well, taking the car keys is one thing, but taking Dad's Glock and 33 round magazine is quite another. Driving is a privilege, but a gun is a fundamental right. I don't think I'd be comfortable making the call myself to take Dad's gun. And, besides, old people don't commit gun crimes, do they? Well, yes, say the criminal defense lawyers I know, but not that often -- only a few thousand a year. I'll have to write the NRA and ask how to handle the onset of dementia in gun toting oldsters. I'm sure they've thought it through and have an easy solution.
Anyhow, what the NRA made crystal clear is that above all else it's those evil video games. Hard to quibble with that. If video games didn't feature gun violence, nobody would buy an assault weapon intending to shoot anyone with it. So, if we clamp down on those damn video game makers, we won't need to check the backgrounds of the innocent folks who buy assault weapons at gun shows and use them to shoot watermelons in the desert.
Uh oh. I was trying to find answers to all my stupid questions online and stumbled onto this article in yesterday's New York Times. This can't be right, can it? It says the video game makers are sponsored by the gun makers and that the gun makers use the video game makers' websites to sell guns. But the NRA says the gun makers are the good guys who make guns that keep us safe and the video game makers are the bad guys who make bad people use guns to shoot schoolkids. So how can the bad guys and the good guys be working together? I'm really, really stuck here. I doubt even the NRA can help me figure this one out.