If I were the devil, I would work really hard to make sure that the well-intentioned people of this country were so distracted by minutiae and political gamesmanship that they could never get around to dealing with the really big issues.
Oh, wait ... that’s kinda like how we are now.
Take the president’s bold initiative to curb gun violence and protect our children: 23 new executive actions, none of which are actually laws, but have stirred the political waters into an even more frenzied state than they usually are.
And not one of which would have prevented Sandy Hook.
I mean, seriously. Do we really think that “clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within the Affordable Care Act exchanges” will have a strong countering effect to gun violence? But at least on the list was a reminder to nominate a director for the ATF, as if one of the president’s “to do” sticky notes sneaked into the press conference.
Thankfully, nowhere in the 23 actions did the president remember to take on his allies in Hollywood and the broader culture.
So now we, as a country, are about to embark on a grand national farce of arguing about whether a semi-automatic weapon with a pistol handle should be illegal when the same semi-automatic weapon without the pistol handle is perfectly legal.
And then we’ll move on to the grand circus of talking about how a magazine with 10 bullets in it is frightfully more safe for the public than a magazine with 12 bullets.
So if I had a magazine that holds 12, but only filled it up to 10, would it still be illegal? And if I shot those remaining bullets into the forest where nobody heard them, would they still count?
To quote one of my favorite retired generals, “We’re stuck on stupid!” This is not the debate we should be having. We should be having a debate that is based around what we know, what actually works, and how we can actually protect children, and not just make ourselves feel better about doing something.
The shooter at Sandy Hook broke about 10 laws before he ever shot a student — would another law have slowed him down? And, closer to home, the assault weapons ban was perfectly ensconced in law on April 20, 1999, and we all know how that worked out.
So let’s all back off a little bit, from those who want to remove all guns from circulation to those who want every child to learn how to shoot at school.
I understand that emotions motivate difficult discussions, but they rarely translate into smart policy. Can we please step back and have a rational discussion about preventing events like Sandy Hook?
I’d like to start next week by laying out a few things that I think we know, and what I think they imply about a course going forward.
Michael Alcorn is a music teacher and fitness instructor who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. He graduated from Alameda High School and the University of Colorado-Boulder.