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Opinion

“We need to look more closely at a culture that all too often glorifies guns and violence.” — President Barack Obama

It didn’t take long for the tragedy of the Newtown, Connecticut shootings, which left 20 schoolchildren and six adults dead, to be co-opted by politicians and special interest groups alike, all eager to advance their ideas about how to prevent another deranged madman from taking innocent lives. President Obama is calling on Congress to issue gun control legislation that would limit access to assault weapons. The National Rifle Association (NRA) wants armed guards patrolling every school in America. Legislators in several states, including Florida, want to allow teachers to carry guns on school grounds. Others are clamoring for a lockdown of the schools, complete with metal detectors and guard dogs.

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I was about to answer Bob Scott’s tirade about guns and the NRA when this horrible incident in Connecticut arose where innocent children were murdered en masse. I study all these shootings in detail as I teach the concealed carry pistol classes in WNC, and when I was younger I had several occasions where I had to shoot bad guys in NYC. It seems that psychos always act out in a school or a place where decent citizens do not carry weapons. Consider that in this horrific school shooting, there were only three ways to prevent or stop these murders:

1. Detection and treatment of the troubled person before he committed these acts; or

2. Termination of the shooting in the school by some responsible citizen who was armed; or

3. The presence of an armed security guard.

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After the killing of 26 children and adults by a young man using a semi-automatic gun best used for combat, the knee jerk reactions have begun.

Politicians on the Democrat side of the aisle are calling for assault weapon bans. Some Republicans are saying we need more guns. Others are claiming that if we arm more people they will stop a shooter. If more people carry guns there will be less crime. Schools should have armed guards. All of these solutions are inconclusive. However, 19 mass killings in the past five years have produced no reasonable answer to this terrible national problem. Stronger gun control will probably have no effect as there are more than 300 million guns in our society. It would be impossible to round up these guns or even attempt to register them. Mass killers are different from serial killers. Serial killers kill an individual and then kill again after a cooling off period.

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As this is being written, it's the last day before the “fiscal cliff.” While it doesn't quite have the ominous ring of the Mayan end of the world prediction - the metaphor of a cliff has been an effective media attention grabber. To be sure, there are some real consequences down the cankicking road such as spending cuts, significant tax increases and immediate unemployment benefits expiring for a couple of million people. On the other side of the ledger is a national debt exceeding $16 trillion that has been increasing at a rate of nearly four billion a day over the last five years. Sixteen trillion in a giant sheet of hundred dollars bills could be folded into an origami swan the size of the former planet Pluto.

Deadlines create drama, because at least in theory, there is no extension or reversal. Y2K was much anticipated largely in part because of its fixed point in time. Oh boy, a countdown to the end – I can't wait. For instance, I could tell you a meteorite will slam into the earth where your house is located at some undisclosed time in the future and get a big yawn. However, if I said it will happen next Tuesday at noon, now, that would get your attention and the proper ensuing sarcasm and ridicule when the deadline passed.

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