We are fast approaching the 2-month mark after the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, and gun control continues to be a very hot topic.
Angela Morabito of Georgetown University notes that the focus on public safety shouldn’t be on the weapons, but on the people who use them.
When we talk about public safety in America, we talk about a great variety of things. That’s part of why we can’t seem to get public safety right – we are still talking about things instead of talking about people. The human cost of public safety lapses is very painful and very real. These horrific crimes are carried out by human beings against other human beings, and yet we pretend like regulating things is going to solve this problem.
This notion of regulating objects instead of people is a public policy mistake we have made before. That’s why a would-be mass murderer an get on a plane, but your shampoo bottle can’t. Have a felony conviction or two? Come on through the metal detector. Have a water bottle in your backpack? A security agent will be ready to throw it out faster than you can say “Dasani.”….
When Obama does mention humans, his advice was largely reactionary. He advised both emergency response plans and the prosecution of gun crimes. He has asked for research into what causes gun crimes, and for the government to trace guns that are recovered in criminal investigations. (These are four of the Executive Actions he signed following the press conference.) Not bad ideas, quite frankly – but the problem is that they’re ideas for what to do after a gun crime has occurred. That’s not leadership – that’s a scramble to figure out what keeps going wrong, instead of stopping things from going wrong in the first place.
Seven of Obama’s twenty-three Executive Actions have to do with health care. We need better mental health care in this country – I don’t dispute that at all. But the methods Obama signed off on may actually discourage people from seeking treatment.
Angela Morabito conclusion focuses on personal responsibility:
The solution here is not likely to come through government. It has to come through families who look out for their own, and get an individual help LONG before his mental illness devolves into homicidal thinking (let alone homicidal action). It has to come through communities that engage ALL of their members in some way.
Public Safety: Work with People Before Crises Occur, Instead of Reacting Against Objects Afterwards (TheCollegeConservative)