Since the horrific murders in Newtown, CT, last week, America has been gripped by a near-hysterical public debate about what to do to prevent such a thing from happening again. Not surprisingly, the usual gun-hating politicians are crying out for more stringent gun control laws, as if Connecticut’s existing and very stringent gun laws were inadequate.
And it’s no surprise that no politicians are crying out for curbs on the ultra-violent influences our kids are exposed to in video games, TV, and movies. No politicians are suggesting that the mainstream media’s obsession with glorifying insane killers like Adam Lanza needs to stop. And so far the politicians have only paid lip service to the shameful underfunding of mental health care in this nation.
If anything good comes out of this tragedy, it might be what some people are proposing as the Lanza test. The test is simple: just ask if some proposed solution would have stopped or limited what Adam Lanza was able to do. If the answer is no or little, then find a better solution. Here are some examples:
1. Would having locked security doors stopped Lanza? No. Not if he could break or shoot out glass panels and get in, which is what he did.
2. Would requiring background checks at gun show have stopped Lanza? No. He murdered the person who legally purchased the guns and took them. Lanza was too young to purchase those guns himself under state law. Same for waiting periods, required training, and safety locks, none of which would have stopped or limited what Adam Lanza was able to do.
3. Would banning all assault weapons and semi-auto pistols have stopped Lanza? No. Only if you think a body count of 10 or 12 is okay, which might be how many kids he could have killed using two revolvers and a pump shotgun.
4. Would arming teachers and principals have stopped Lanza? Yes. It is probable that no one, or possibly only a few adults would have been shot before Lanza was stopped and likely no kids would have been killed.
Now if we can get politicians to use the Lanza test we might actually find ways to protect kids.