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Gun dialogue must be comprehensive

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POSTED: January 3, 2013 6:00 p.m.

The White House said curbing gun violence is a complex problem requiring a “comprehensive” solution.

But the president immediately moved to appoint a panel on guns.

There may be some changes in gun laws that can help. But it remains that some of the areas of the country most plagued by gun violence have the strictest gun laws. Gun laws in Norway — not exactly the Wild West — were futile in preventing Anders Breivik’s slaughter of 69 at a youth camp last year.

And when New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg insipidly says, “We don’t need people carrying guns in public places,” he is being decidedly un-nuanced. He can say that, and could pass such a law would it not be clearly unconstitutional according to recent Supreme Court rulings, but it begs the question: Would criminals agree? Or only law-abiding citizens?

We welcome a debate on gun control, as long as it is honest and adheres to reason rather than emotion.

But the laser focus on gun laws may miss the larger target.

The Newtown shooting, as all other massacres and gun deaths, is about so much more than guns. It’s about mental-health issues. School security. A culture of self-gratification at nearly any cost. Subcultures that glorify violence and objectify women. Broken homes and births out of wedlock. And more.

It’s so much easier to demonize good Americans who believe deeply in the right to bear arms. It’s easier than taking a painful look at lifestyles and behaviors that lead to violence. It’s easier, for instance, than confronting this country’s negligence of the mentally ill.

To treat the real problems in American society, we need an exceptionally candid dialogue about the state of American society.

Let’s see a task force on that.

— the Augusta Chronicle
Online: www.chronicle.augusta.com

 

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