- Posted January 11, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Gun control debate: Background checks
The Great American Gun Debate
By: Anthony C. Roman,
Roman & Associates
With guns drawn on both sides of the aisle, politicians, interest groups, and even normally neutral journalists are taking aim at one another with deadly accuracy. Accusations and counter charges are being fired across the fence with such intensity that they make the Wyatt Earp gunfight at the OK Corral seem timid in comparison. It is not at all surprising given the carnage suffered in the last two years that is increasing in frequency and severity, resulting in combat zone body counts. Newtown, an ironically gun friendly area of Connecticut, with surprising strict gun control measures, has finally raised the American consciousness, resulting in an emotional response not seen since the Vietnam War.
Night after night, each camp convincingly presents their side of the argument. There are calls for assault weapons ban or limiting the number of bullets in their ammunition magazines. On the other side, shouts for arming teachers and placing police in every school. Arguments continue offering perspectives about Australia’s gun ban after mass shootings, explaining they have suffered no more massacres. Finally, post event analysis claiming if armed guards were present in Newtown schools, this massacre would likely not have occurred.....and on and on.....democracy is messy.
There are problems with the arguments on both sides. The fact is Australia does not have a major drug war on its boarder, like the US. This drug war has an insatiable appetite for high powered weapons on both sides of the boarder. Gun ban or no, guns will flow back and forth along the American boarder in the company of recreational drugs that Americans and westerners demand. Guns and drugs are interwoven in an unholy alliance that is inseparable. This is just a hint at how complex a subject and debate we are facing. When new laws are passed where will we place the newly convicted? No one has addressed that American prisons have a record population and there is simply no more room for the additional prisoners more gun control will surely create.
The fact is millions of Americans love their guns as much as they love their cars and will not be divorced from them easily. Hunters, recreation sportsman, skeet and trap shooters all feel entitled to ownership; and oh yes, that small thing called the Second Amendment guaranteeing the right to bear arms, upheld by the lands highest court. Yet millions of other Americans, know nothing of guns, fear them, believe them evil and want them all banned.
Some areas, such as Chicago, Illinois have the highest gun related murder rate in the Country, yet some of the strictest gun control laws. Why, Illegal guns and drugs, the unholy alliance. Yet NYC, larger, and with one of the busiest shipping ports in the world, with similar strict gun control, had the lowest murder rate by guns since the Police Department began creating statistics -- a remarkably fantastic accomplishment as a result of modern strategic policing, with the aid of all of the latest software and surveillance equipment Homeland Security money can buy, and an esprit de corps second to none.
We are faced with a terrible dilemma --- create a feel good solution that based on current experience will not likely accomplish what we are trying to do, save ourselves, from ourselves. But in the shadow of Newtown, to do nothing is unimaginable.
While we debate, we and our children are faced with a continuing real risk.
In this instance, the goal of risk management is to protect our schools, school yards, universities, summer camps, places of recreation, malls, trains, buses, places of work and worship, from an evolving profile of mass murderer. Mass murderers whose weapons have included semi automatic high powered rifles, rapid fire pistols, common fertilizer combined with gasoline to produce bombs with a blast of such ferocity and power, it can be detonated from behind the bomb barriers and still destroy a large office building. Common barbecue propane tank bombs, similar in power to the fertilizer bomb, bombs surgically placed in the abdomens of suicide bombers, and the diabolical list infinitely continues in the imagination of the deranged and determined.
While we wait for the progressively slow progress of democratic legislating, one answer that can address the painful reality we face is highlighted by three basic principles of protection:
Owners must assess each unique building, location or area to be protected to identify its security weaknesses and strengths. Assess the risks that we are most likely to face. Assess the best methods to counter the weaknesses and the risks.
Prepare a plan to include layers of security methods, each layer presenting obstacles and slowing an assailant down to allow time for police or specially trained armed guard response. Prepare an evacuation plan to move civilians either away from the threat or into secure portions of the facility that will act to slow the assailant further. More time for the police to respond.
Action includes awareness and practical ongoing training for the staff, and for the group being protected, so that each knows what to do, and when to do it to best ensure survival of a mortal threat. This is similar to required ongoing fire drills, tornado drills, hurricane and disaster drills.
The Aim: The Golden 10 Minutes of Survival which allows police and rescue response, deployment and interdiction.
Security Preparedness and Security Drills, it is now apparent, should be new lexicons. So while the debate rages on, democracy takes its slow, imperfect course, and one type of legislation or another is passed, the good news is each school district, village, town, summer camp, place of business and place of worship can reassess the generally inadequate current approach to security measures, and effect a remarkable difference. It's good business, it makes sense, and it meets the moral challenge of our time.