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).