Wednesday December 19, 2012

Before I get started, I would like to say a few things: There’s no one answer; there’s no way to head it all off; and there’s no way to stop it from ever happening again.

But what if we could just slow it down? Kind of like driving in a snow storm -- if you just slow down, chances are you’ll get home safe. Well, what if we could apply this thinking to our obsession with guns? The Bill of Rights, of which the Second Amendment is part, went into effect exactly 221 years to the day when a 20-year old shot his way into a small elementary school in Connecticut and opened fire. He broke the Sixth Commandment while doing it, so clearly we know this: amendments and commandments meant nothing to him.

What motivated him to commit such an unspeakable act is still waiting to be untangled. We may never know. What we do know is he committed these acts with an assault rifle, something he should not have had in the first place. So, unless you are an active member of the military or law enforcement you shouldn’t have an assault weapon. I’m for a 100 percent ban on assault rifles; they’re just not necessary for day-to-day life. All this soap boxing that’s going on, I sincerely hopes it ends with a ban on assault rifle. Problem solved? Not even close. But again, if it prevents one single death because we slowed it down? Victory.

Ronald Reagan once made a statement, something to the effect that we must blame the law breaker and not society. Those are words to live by ... until you take a listen to something comedian John Oliver said: "One failed shoe bombing and we all have to take our shoes off at the airport? Thirty-one school shootings since Columbine and no change in gun regulation?" At what point does society feed the criminal? If you’re overweight and you cut your caloric intake you’ll lose weight, but fast food restaurants introduce a $1 menu ... well, you can always start your diet tomorrow, right? By no means does this put the blame on society, but it does implicate it.

I believe in accountability: You’re responsible for your actions. But when those actions are beyond reason (slaughtering 20 innocent children and six adults) then we must force change, no matter the cost or the uncomfortable nature of that change. I’m actually a believer of the Second Amendment. But it was written when times were less civilized and defending one’s property was paramount to survival. This is no longer the case, so the Second Amendment should be amended. I’m not looking to take away your guns, just the ones that that are designed for war.

And while we’re doing that, we should be pushing legislation that helps those with mental health issues get the help they need and it should come just short of mandated help. I’m not looking to form colonies of mentally ill people, but when our nation shut down the mental health facilities and put these people in the charge of our law enforcement, we took a huge step backwards. Every time someone with a mental instability has an issue who gets called? The police department. So we could be dealing with two issues with one piece of legislation.

Again, there’s not one answer to the problem, and even if we threw 50 new laws and regulations at it, it doesn’t mean it’s going to stop. But if we could just slow it down enough to gain some clarity around it we might be able to eventually stop it all together.

Yes, we need some regulation around this -- enough is enough. Everyday citizens don’t need assault rifles. They just don’t. That’s an easy one. People with mental health issues need help. Another easy one. These are the first two things that should be tackled, and if someone threatens to shoot up a school then they must suffer the same exact fate as someone who threatens the president: If you say it, you go straight to jail, do not pass go, do not collect hours of evaluation to see if you’re suitable to stand trial. Just dig a hole and throw them in then cover the hole. What the hell is up with that?

Fish is the morning talent on Classic Hits 92.7 FM. He also offers up his opinion on-line at www.whatda hell.net. E-mail him at fish@wk vt.com.