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Gun Control, Root Cause and Corrective Action

I’ve spent much of my career in the power business doing what we call “root cause” investigations.  Suppose something bad happens in the power plant such as the plant tripping off line or a major piece of equipment failing.  Guys like me come to the scene and determine all the reasons for the event and then devise methods to prevent it from happening again.

The first test of a proposed corrective action is see whether it could prevent what just happened.  It’s always easy to tell management to revise this or that procedure.  It’s a cheap fix; management likes it, so amateurs all too often suggest it.  But sometimes you need other solutions.

In the current haggling about gun control in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre, politicians propose to limit the size of new ammo magazines, ban the sale of certain guns, do various background and fingerprint checks, do mental health checks for gun buyers, register and fingerprint all gun owners, and make more gun-free zones.

Even if all of these these were done, the Sandy Hook massacre would have taken place all the same.  Therefore, all these proposals are a bust.

Adam Lanza was not the gun purchaser.  His mother was.  She could have passed any background check you’d care to name, and her fingerprints would have been dutifully on file.  Her son stole the murder weapon, killed her with it, then went to a gun-free zone to start shooting little people.  The ammo and magazines were already lawfully purchased.  And Sandy Hook was already a gun-free zone, which is why it was perfectly safe for Lanza to go there and start shooting.

Consequently, none of the politicians’ suggestions should be implemented.  They would not prevent the event we just had, not even if we implemented all of them.  It is no service to the dead, nor is it any comfort to the survivors, to pass a bunch of laws which we know will do no good.

Wayne LaPierre, president of the National Rifle Association, is the only person of national stature (so far) to recommend an action which might actually have reduced the body count at Sandy Hook.  His proposal to place armed guards in the schools would certainly reduce the frequency and severity of such attacks.  For this, LaPierre has been thoroughly execrated by the leftstream media.

If the concern is how to protect yourself and your family from the next madman looking to glorify his suicide with a big news story, the first thing I’d recommend is to stay out of gun-free zones.  Those are where virtually all shooters go.  They are looking for large numbers of easy victims because they want to make sure they draw lots of attention their suicides.  If you abide by this one rule, your chance of being involved in a massacre would drop to almost zero.  If Congress wants a cheap, fast way to reduce the death rate, they should abolish all gun-free zones from sea to shining sea.

The next thing I’d suggest is that the news media wise up to the role they’re playing.  A madman’s motive for a massacre is media attention.  Therefore, the name of the shooter should go under a total news blackout.  No pictures.  No cover stories.  No leads.  No names.  Nothing.  Let the families grieve without the media circus, and by all means deprive future shooters of the media incentive.

And dare I suggest that leftist media people, who thoroughly loathe the second amendment to the Constitution, might also be allowing themselves to be used by killers like Lanza and Loughner?  Such stories are too compelling.  The headlines are too gripping.  The tragedy is too deep to just walk off and leave it.  There are ads to be sold and political goals to be achieved.  Expecting the media to be wise and self-controlled is futile.

So some lefty-feely, hopey-changey legislation will likely be passed in the next few months.  The Democrats will propose nothing intelligent, and the GOP will resist nothing stupid.  So it will come.  And the massacre rate in gun-free zones, which has been around one a year, will stay about the same.  Sometime in the next year or two, expect another.  Because the root causes of these massacres are not being addressed.  Like a foolish manager who doesn’t understand his own business but thinks he does, Congress will succumb to the urge to do something, and that something will do nothing.


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