A President who has been maligned for striking the wrong tone at the wrong time got the tone exactly right this week when he offered new ideas to stem the tide of school shootings. What happened? His ideas were shot down within a matter of hours.
I live in a state where more people own and have grown up using guns than in most others. Guns are a part of life in Texas. Standing up for yourself and your neighbor is part of the cultural fabric here. Yes, it does make you proud of your state and yes, it does make you feel safe. Ask anyone if they didn’t feel proud and loved by their neighbors after Hurricane Harvey.
Texas reminds me a little bit of how I felt skiing out west, particularly at Jackson Hole, which has some of the steepest inclines and drop offs in the Country. Skiing side by side with some of the best skiiers in the Country could have been harrowing. Instead it made me feel safe. It was clear they knew what they were doing. I might have been challenged by the terrain but I felt confident the other, more experienced skiiers could show me the way.
I am waiting for the right person to reassure me, and every other American, that the U.S. can act swiftly and reasonably on the issue of Gun Violence in Our Schools. Where is the responsible NRA member or Sportsman who is willing to stand up and say it’s time for a change? The time for talk is over. The time for action has arrived. We can and will employ the best intelligence communities in the world, the best military and the most entrepreneurial minds to keep our children safe at school.
Let’s make it as hard to get into a school as it is to get into Federal facility with security clearance. Let’s use iris and thumbprint scanners. Let’s use the soft stuff, too. Teachers already have their work cut out for them but why don’t we use retired military as volunteers on our campuses. Heck, let’s pay them. They’ve earned it and they have exactly the kind of defensive posture and judgement on when and how to act that our kids deserve right now.
Few Americans realize letting the Assault Weapons Ban expire was a procedural lapse. Fewer still realize that while there is little to guide us in terms of identifying mass shooters before they snap, there are clear indications that the weapon of choice is often a semi-automatic rifle.
President Trump bravely stepped forward and offered ideas that might get bi-partisan support: allowing families to petition to have a troubled relative’s guns taken away, extensive background checks and more aggressive mental health intervention. The lobbyists refrain is to say none of that will work. They may be right that it won’t stop the illegal gun trade, at least not yet. But doing nothing is not the answer. Tone matters. And the time for a shift in our tone is now. Because Gun Reason is not Gun Control.