Posted: Jul 23, 2012 at 1:03 AM [Jul 23, 2012]
Sunday, July 22, 2012: CBS's Bob Schieffer, host of that network's Face the Nation political interview show , this morning called for “Common Sense” in dealing with the rare random mass homicide attacks by (allegedly) deranged men . But the show featured mostly expressions of outrage and calls for “more and better” gun controls. So Shieffer’s “Common Sense” for once, dumbfounded me.
Premise A: fewer than 1 in 10 million people prove to be killers who commit mass murders. Mass murder shootings always make headlines - but they occur in a country with well over 200 million adults:and about 100 million of them have guns. Mass shootings are rare events: one every 5 to 10 years is about average.
Premise B: “therefore” - the answer is certainly to add controls and restrictions and impose them on the 100 million honest, crime-free other gun owners. Really?
Premise C: the proper response to every mass shooting is for the news media to focus constantly for days on “expressing shock” and “consoling the victims‘ families.” Then, “details about the killer” is next item on the news agenda. And finally, (inevitably) are the interviews in which “public officials” state their sorrow over the event and their determination to stop future attacks (always by means of gun controls of one kind or another). That’s effective journalism. Really?
History: The Iroquois Theatre fire occurred on December 30, 1903, it remains the worst fire fatality incident in our history (602 died). So there’s a comparative figure but most important is the result: over the years, more and more fire codes were passed in the wake of these rare tragedies. Many fire codes mandated, for the first time, fire safety features which had been known for decades. Today, there’s no more than one multiple fatality fire in commercial buildings per decade. And death tolls seldom equal that in the Aurora. Colorado shooting.
The threat from the enemy we call fire has been reduced drastically: by ever-improving technologies put in place by rational-response fire codes and enforced vigorously by fire marshals. No one objects to the added costs or fights these codes as “government intervention”- it’s a matter of life and death, even though your chances of dying in a fire are one in a million or less.
Fire can be stopped. So why are we thinking these lone killers are unstoppable without disarming the rest of the country? And are fire codes really “big government in action?”
Soldiers with combat experience will affirm: detecting and hindering the enemy's attacks is of paramount importance. But what is being done to detect and hinder these (very rare) murderous individuals? The answer is, Nothing, as far as I can see. From direct personal career experience (corporate security supervisor at a Big Pharma research facility), I can assure anyone interested that there's plenty of proven (and affordable) technology to stop armed psychos from ever getting inside any facility to attack innocent men, women and children. There were no alarms, no card-access doors, no night-vision, motion-activated TV monitors and no automatically triggered lighting to stop James Holmes from crossing an open parking lot and waltzing into a movie theater while carrying a rifle and three handguns (while wrapped in 30 pounds of ballistic armor). There wasn’t even an instant police notification system in place (as many homeowners have installed).
First responders vs emergency rescue: of the two, the latter are more valuable. Police are called first responders: but they get to the scene of tragedies only after being called. Aurora (and earlier, Ann Arbor) Police Chief Dan Oates is praised for his “preparedness” even though he had to prepare only for national TV interviews - long after the shootings. Even emergency rescue teams could not have rescued the audience in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater: they aren’t equipped or trained to confront armed mass killers who appear randomly in public places once every few years. The most “common sense” answer then is for laws mandating adequate intruder-blocking technologies.
Second line of defense: on the scene responders. The only affordable on the scene responders are the armed citizens who have been properly trained in self defense scenarios. It’s only Common Sense: but mall owners, theater owners, employers and university officials in general have policies blocking legally armed citizens - who are not only working for no pay, they’re practicing our inalienable right to defend life.
So yes, lets start using Common Sense and lets desist with using the Nonsense of extreme solution gun bans and useless post-tragedy outrage.