This is the second part of my take on gun control, and other things our government will try to “fix” in the coming years.
It seems to me, about the only thing our government does efficiently is react to problems. It never seems to have the vision or foresight to keep our nation out of problems, but man-o-man, let something happen and the members of Congress and the President are quicker than a hiccup to find something to blame and then they want to fix it.
One reason the Congress and our President can’t fix things is because they never really define what the real problem is. I have been fortunate to work with some of the most brilliant minds in our country during the last 30 years. I am an engineering consultant/teacher, and I have worked for and with some of the biggest companies in the world. When you work for the likes of the U.S. military, NASA, Boeing, Kodak, Xerox, Nabisco, Wrigley (the gum people), Lockheed, Honeywell, subsidiaries of the U.S. automotive industry, Daewoo, Honda, Komatsu, Caterpillar, Milwaukee Electric Tool, Calloway Golf, Hill-Rom, ConMed, ViaSat and many others, like I have, you learn a lot of things, unless you are just stupid. Fortunately for me, I may not be the brightest bulb in the house, but I am not stupid.
One thing I have learned about working with engineers is this; when they face a problem, they first define the problem and then once it is defined (most of the time to minute detail), engineers will solve the problem. That’s why we all enjoy things like cell phones, the internet, cable TV, fast cars, good beer, the ability to have heart-lung transplants (and survive), fresh food, air travel and a clean environment.
Let’s take a look at the horror of the Sandy Hook Massacre from two perspectives: Our government vs. engineering.
Is Sandy Hook a problem? Our government and any sane engineer would agree that dead school children are a major problem. It must be stopped, at all costs.
Government’s view of the problem – Government sees the problem as gun control, or the lack thereof, because the children and teachers were shot with a gun. Individuals in the government may also see this tragedy as a chance to grandstand, pontificate and heaven forbid, further their political ambitions. Recent examples that come to mind are Mr. Obama showing up for a photo op after hurricane Sandy (don’t forget New Jersey Governor Chris Christy too), and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani getting enough face time during the 911 crisis to propel himself into the Republican Presidential primary race.
Engineers view of the problem – Engineers would probably look deeper into the situation, after all, they have real jobs and they are probably much smarter than most members of Congress anyway. They may see a series of problems, such as: crazy people live in the world, anyone can get into a school, there are no guards at most schools (and I mean serious guards), most new schools are taller than one floor (this limits the ability to get out of the building during a crisis), most schools have no windows (for escaping), classroom doors do not automatically lock when a crisis occurs, lack of instant emergency communication between school administrators and teachers, and the lack of probably a hundred more safety precautions in schools, and yes, guns are out there too.
Government’s solution to the problem – The Government wants to eliminate the ability of citizens of the United States to possess certain types of guns. Guns that have large clips, or magazines (compartments where the bullets are held in preparation for shooting), seem to the first target of the government. Their logic is that a person with a gun that holds 30+ bullets can kill a lot of people. But a person with two six-shooters can kill a lot of people too without having a large capacity clip weapon. If someone killed 12 students with two small capacity guns, is that any less a tragedy than someone killing 26 people as in Sandy Hook? Both would be unspeakable tragedies. The government’s immediate solution is to whittle away at one of our basic freedoms – the right to bear arms, which U.S. citizens are granted in the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. This right, along with the other one everyone knows – freedom of speech and freedom of religion – was presented to the First United States Congress by James Madison, and became law when ratified by the states in 1791.
Engineer’s solution to the problem – Engineers would probably suggest putting military guards at the doors of every school in the country first. That could be done swiftly and give the engineers more time to further study the problem. The politicians always say that the youth of America is our greatest resource, then why don’t we protect them? After the guards are in place, I am sure we would see all new schools built with special bullet-proof doors, with automatic door-locking systems that would lock down any school under attack, and special escape protocols for classrooms. Old schools could be retrofitted with door-lock systems too. This would be a much better use of the taxpayers’ money than say, giving aid to foreign countries that do not appreciate our generosity.
Our government has tried and failed miraculously many times to solve problems in America. Probably the most infamous “fix” that comes to mind is the Prohibition of Alcohol, which was actually added to the Constitution as the 18th Amendment back in 1919. It worked so well, the 21st Amendment was added to the Constitution to repeal the 18th Amendment in 1933.
Drug abuse is at an all-time high, although many Presidents have declared a war on drugs as far back as the 1970s. Instead of eradicating drug use across the country, the government keeps pumping billions of dollars into the DEA, and the drugs just keep hanging around.
During my teen years, the world’s most powerful government tried to stop the spread of Communism in a little place called Vietnam by drawing a line in the sand and committing U.S. soldiers to hold that line. We had up to 500,000 troops in Vietnam in 1968, but somehow, the line got skewed and we withdrew and now Vietnam is all Communist.
If the Congress of the United States starts cutting away at our Right to Keep and Bear Arms, who is to say they will not find certain speech offensive in a few years and trim the Right of Free Speech. What about religious freedom? Could that be in danger too?
In my next installment, I will explore how guns might be a positive for a country like the United States. Stay tuned.
Causes John Haslam Supports
I support the Constitution of the United States of America.
I support St. Jude's Hospital.
I believe in GOD.