We’re quite a reactionary society.
We don’t really work to prevent anything. Instead, we tend to wait for horrible things to happen then work to create something that would have prevented that thing.
For example, after 9/11, we quickly put together airport security so tough that passengers almost have to fly nude. We take off our shoes. We remove our belts. We remove our watches. We agree to be patted down. We allow machines to scan us that can see our naked bodies. And we do all this to make sure planes are not hijacked and flown into buildings.
Trouble is, that was the 2001 way terrorists got at us. They’ve moved on to other measures now. We know this because of other plots that have been thwarted. Obviously, (like the planes back in 2001) the best terrorist method is one nobody has thought of.
Still, we do all the things mentioned above. We also waved goodbye to many of the basic freedoms and rights we enjoyed before 2001, all in the name of safety. But does any of that guarantee there will not be another terrorist attack? Of course not. The next one will come in an unexpected fashion.
Most recently, we have the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It was horrible. Already, our local school system is scrambling to improve security. Nationally, we’re hearing another push for new gun control laws. Some have even suggested we no longer need guns at all and believe the Second Amendment should be repealed.
But this shooting (like so many others) is the random result of a mentally deranged individual. These tragedies are not the result of a glaring hole in security or a lackluster enforcement of existing laws. And that’s where the problem materializes.
Even if guns were outlawed tomorrow, how would we ever round them all up? How would we know when we grabbed the last gun? And even if we were successful in destroying the last one of them, nothing would change. A mentally deranged individual will turn to whatever method is at hand. Sometimes all that’s needed is a little poison and some Kool-Aid.
Poison can come from something as seemingly innocuous as a mushroom. Would we then have people talking about collecting every wild mushroom on the planet? Schools have chemistry labs. They typically have strong acids. Horrible things could be done using the acid.
Guns are simply not the only thing used to harm people.
And we’ll never get a handle on these things as long as we wait for them to happen and try to stop repeats.
What we need is some thought to general concepts that would stop multiple threats. Do we know what that is? No, but we know it hasn’t been found, yet.