30 January 2013

Your Blogger's Sweeping Proposals to Lessen Gun Violence

It's tough arguing against the folks who oppose regulations on guns. I'm always a little worried that they might pull out a gun after losing the argument. Nonetheless, I have to assume that Obama and the House Republicans are waiting for us bloggers to weigh in before they decide how to respond to gun violence. So, here are my suggestions for mitigating gun violence. (And yes. I'm serious about them all.)

1. Change our movie ratings. We rather hope that our children grow up to engage in acts of explicit sex but not acts of explicit violence. So why is explicit sex rated X and explicit violence rated R? Reverse that. Or make them both X. Just stop sending the message that violence is more acceptable than sex.

2. New rule for shooter video games: when your character dies, the console shuts down. Each time he dies, the console shuts down for a longer period. (Perhaps the 100th time a character dies, your console permanently dies.) Yes this is sad. So is death. You want realistic simulations? Feel some sorrow when someone dies.

Parenting and Community
3. More males in schools. Teachers are these amazing people who have to provide education on academics and hygiene, life skills, and nutrition as well as provide comfort. And - at the elementary school level - they're disproportionately female. Whether through volunteer efforts, special relationships with more male dominated industries (like accounting, management, construction, and auto repair), or different hiring practices, we should work to bring more males into schools. Boys without fathers are more likely - significantly more likely - to end up in jail for any of a variety of crimes, including shooting someone. More males in their life could help.

4. Give birth to a child with fetal alcohol syndrome and lose your right to reproduce. One strike and you are out. You've just handicapped a child for life through negligence and abuse. Be glad that you aren't incarcerated for this.

5. Double or triple payments to children in poverty. In the last decade, the percentage of children receiving payments has dropped from 68% to 34%. This is criminal and you have to have either a cold heart or intent on raising a generation who show as little regard for their community as their community has seemed to show for them. You want adult criminals? Ignore children.

6. Change the curriculum. Stop pretending that everyone has the capacity to become a university professor or professional. (See, for instance, the children born with fetal alcohol syndrome mentioned above.) Don't hold schools to silly academic standards. Instead, hold them responsible for preparing their graduates for job offers and start-ups.

7.Change the curriculum. Ask members of the community what is most important to a happy and productive life. Few will mention times tables or split infinitives. Many will mention instead the importance of sustaining relationships, finding meaning, managing cash flow, and defining and pursuing goals. The community that simply depends on parents and the media to do that is inviting a lot of the frustration and failure that occasionally finds its expression in tragic suicides and homicides.

8. Require background checks for all gun purchases, whether or not they're sold at a gun show.

9. Subject all gun purchases to a 30 day waiting period. This alone could lower the rate of suicides enough to save hundreds of lives each year.

10. Ban the sale of guns designed to kill armored personnel or unarmored crowds.

11. Require education for the purchase of a gun, a certification process akin to what we require of new drivers.

12. Require a payment of one million dollars to the family of each gun victim. This would come from liquidating the assets of the shooter (not a group notorious for its wealth) and then a fine on the gun manufacturer. Let the gun manufacturers pass along these costs in their prices (and / or do what they could to lower the probability of such a fine through design, distribution, and marketing practices).


Lifehiker said...

Yes, Ron, we are kindred spirits. I like your suggestions, but especially the fetal alcohol syndrome recommendation (or any kind of child born with drugs in its system)- neuter that lady. Each one of those severely disabled kids costs society many millions, to say nothing of the pain the kids themselves experience. Yes to universal background checks and full reporting of criminals and those with severe mental illness. Lastly, create the annual "Wayne LaPierre Award" for a leader who most fails to represent the views of a majority of those in his/her organization.

Cal said...

Good thoughts, Ron. Some reactions:

1. Instead of reversing X and R, how about just a separate rating for sex vs violence, say XV and XS? While grown-up explicit sex per se is fine, I'm not sure that's a sound argument for exposing our kids to it, and I don't see that we need to offer a quid pro quo here. Why trade something off? Just rate both appropriately.

2. This one'd never work, Wilbur. Cheats and mods for popular games are everywhere... everyone would just install the (readily available) mod that disabled this feature. And market forces would drive games makers to make these mods very accessible and easy to implement. Instead... what if we replaced the simplistic ratings we use today with something like a "citizenship" score (needs a better name), which would rate how much a game might promote antisocial tendencies? With some education, and appropriate rating information ("Score: 10 - This game is highly likely to turn your kid into a raving psychotic"), parents might be more careful, or at least more aware. We could potentially also require a games registration database, which could subsequently be tied to criminal behavior, enabling us to hold parents accountable.

3-5. Yes. #4 is tricky, because we're rightfully hypersenstive about anything that smacks of eugenics, but I'd support this.

6-7. Yes. I'd also like to see a mandatory high school course in Logic & Critical Thinking, just like everyone has to take Health and Government classes. This will become ever more important as the barriers to entry for information dissemination continue to fall (a good thing), thus decreasing our ability to identify inherently more credible information/news sources (a bad thing). Our only hope is a skeptical populace. Today we have a hopelessly gullible one, ripe for manipulation by the most accomplished liars.

8-12. You are clearly Hitler. Why do you hate freedom? That said, I think these are right on the money.