A lot of gun owners will tell you that the solution to the number of mass shootings in this country is not any regulation of guns or gun ownership. The response has often been that if more people had guns there would be fewer casualties in a mass shooting because a "good guy with a gun" would shoot the mass shooter.
This is closing the barn door after the horses have fled.
If, however, I accepted that there should be no regulations on gun ownership but still wanted to reduce the number of gun deaths, what would be required? I think this:
- All children must have the opportunity, regardless of where they live or the income of their parents to receive an outstanding education with low teacher to student ratios that prioritizes critical thinking and respectful debate.
- All men and women between the ages of 18-21 should be required to participate in a year of mandatory service to their country. There's plenty that needs rebuilt, plenty that needs to be done, give everyone a chance to meet, co-mingle, and get to know one another on a human scale.
- Accessible vocational, technical and college education programs for post-secondary students that don't cripple individuals with debt and promote critical thinking, problem solving and an orientation towards service and community engagement.
- All jobs in this country need to have a livable wage so that if you work, you're not required to go onto welfare or public assistance programs but can actually afford a dignified life. We also need to ensure we have strong welfare programs so that those who cannot work or are intermittently out of work can bounce back.
- Universal access to affordable health care that includes physical and mental health which does not punish the sick or unwell and allows all individuals to make decisions about their own health.
- Universal access for all people at all times to clean air, clean water, healthy food and the opportunity to experience awe in the world around them -- that means access to parks large and small.
- Cease punishing people for failing in honest attempts to improve or for changing their mind when they're presented with new information and experiences. People grow, people make mistakes, people change, and we should support that.
- Humanize police work and make our law enforcement less violent, disincentive prisons and eliminate any engagement from the private market in incarceration, while reforming punishments for non-violent, low level offenders.
- De-militarize our country and the influence of the private sector on the military-industrial complex.
- Underpinning it all, we need equal rights for all people, regardless of gender identity, religious and sexual preference, perceived ability or disability, age, perceived or identified racial or veteran status.
We have all the resources in this country to do all of the above and I think it would significantly decrease the anger, the acrimony, the deep seated mistrust of the "other" in this country and all that should significantly decrease violent outbursts towards our communities thereby lowering gun deaths.
What am I missing?
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