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This is something I have been thinking a lot about lately - as I assume many of us have. It seems to me, and I'm sure I can find supporting evidence with very little effort on the Internet, that these 'rampage shooting' events in the news are happening more and more often. When I was a kid you hardly ever heard about them. Today, statistically, we have over one per month. What the hell changed?

Do we really value human life so little that we are willing to stand by and let this happen over and over again and not at least try to stop it? Is the 'right' to own a weapon more important than the right for young children or college students to have a safe place to learn? Are both sides so deeply entrenched in their positions that we have no room for compromise?

Look, I get the fact that laws only apply to the law abiding. And a disturbed person or criminal determined to get a gun will find a way. But we have common sense regulations on all kinds of activities that have the potential to cause much less harm than firearms in this country. So why can't we put our differences aside and see what we can do about what is one of the major disfunction's in our society today. How many people have to die before we figure this out?

Before I go on I should say that I believe in the second amendment right for Americans to bear arms. In a free country, you need to have a damn good reason to restrict the rights, any rights, of the citizens of that country. I also believe we have a real problem going on in America today with people committing these rampage shootings. One that must be addressed. I don't have all the answers - but it has become so incredibly obvious to most of us that we have to do something now.

What makes a normal person get so frustrated that the only recourse they think they have is to get a gun (or two, or three) and head out to a public place in order to kill strangers, schoolmates, or co-workers? I cannot begin to understand that sort of broken thinking. And trust me, as an ex-musician, business owner, California resident, someone who was married - as well as being a living breathing human - I have experienced more than my fair share of personal frustration. I even admit to having had thoughts of killing somebody before. But only in the most superficial and un-serious manner. I could never imagine actually acting on those thoughts. So what is it in our society that pushes people over that line?

Is it all the chemicals in our food or medicine? Is it because of the pollution in the air and environment? Vaccines? Maybe the fluoride in our water? Is it the violent video games, movies and TV shows we watch? Have we screwed up the gene pool somehow? Is it because both parents have to work in order to make ends meet and little Bobby doesn't get enough attention? More likely it's the result of some CIA mind control experiment gone terribly wrong (or worse, right!). The list could go on for days.

I hear people say that these shooters suffer from some form of mental illness and that is where we should focus our efforts. Yeah. I don't buy it. Sure, that kid from Newtown had a history of mental problems. But if you look at the majority of shooters, he's the exception. Not the norm.

The two from Columbine weren't mental. Weird? Sure. Outsiders? Absolutely. But most people considered them just normal high school kids. That punk who killed those people at the Charleston Church bible class doesn't seem to be mentally impaired, just a racist idiot. The freaky guy from the Aurora, CO theater shooting may look nuts but if he had not committed this crime and went on to graduate with his Ph.D, we would simply have considered him 'eccentric'. In my research, many of these shooters had minor brushes with mental health issues at an earlier period in their lives. As many people do. But most people do not grab a gun and go out and kill strangers. And the majority of these guys were not considered mentally disabled.

I hope you noticed I did not refer to any of these killers by name. I think we should make a real effort to not acknowledge these guys. We should not give the shooters the media attention I think they desire. I believe all of our energy should be given to the victims of these crimes and not to the perpetrators. Do not let them achieve any kind of notoriety or go out in 'a blaze of glory' like they want. We should not remember their names or keep track of 'body counts'. It only encourages others who may be thinking about following down this dark path.

This is only one of the things we must do to try and stop these awful events from continuing. As I said earlier, I don't pretend to have the answers to this problem. But I do have a couple of suggestions on things we might want to consider. I think it's time we put everything on the table. Let's at least try to see if we can make a difference in this particular circumstance. What do we have to lose?

Here are the ideas I have in hopes of reducing rampage shooting spree's. I encourage anyone and everyone to comment or contribute alternative ideas. That's kind of the point of this rant. So here goes:

1. Hide their names and faces.

With the possible exception of an 'at-large' shooter, I think concealing their identities will remove much of their motivation.

2. Never publish a shooter's propaganda.

This is giving the shooter's exactly what they want and is what I feel is exactly what should be denied to them.

3. Don't report on biography or speculate on motive.

Talking about motive may encourage the perception that these acts can be justified.

4. Decrease media saturation.

As insensitive at this may sound, return these events to local coverage and not turn them into national events. I understand the 24 hour news channels have a lot of airtime to fill, but, this should be about the victims. Not the ratings.

And finally,

5. Let's get serious about gun regulation options.

I know this is not going to be popular and, actually, I don't care. I'm not here to make friends. I'm here to make a change. This situation is unacceptable. Unless you are cold blooded and unfeeling, this has to hurt your heart every time it happens. Let's do something.

As a person who believes in the second amendment this is not easy to say but here goes; we have a problem. I'm not one of those second amendment types who think we need to keep our guns to protect us from the gub'ment. I mean, c'mon! If our government ever decides to suppress the people, we're screwed. But do you really think that you and your brother, a couple of cousins and maybe a neighbor will really be able to defend your cul-de-sac from the greatest military in human history? By using a couple of dear hunting rifles, a shotgun or two and maybe a .22 pistol? Okay. Good luck with that. Even if you have a handful of semi-auto (or even full auto) assault weapons available - your dead once you go up against a tank battalion or Seal Team Six. Admit it. You know it's true.

I believe we have the right to bear arms because we live in a free and open society. But only if we act responsibly - which we are not.

So, I think we need to look at TEMPORARILY restricting access to guns. As an experiment. I don't advocate forcing anyone to turn in the guns they already own. We can't ask honest law abiding citizens to turn in their guns and we can't turn honest citizens into criminals overnight by out-lawing property they bought legally and have committed no crime with. So let's not go there. Although, we should ask gun owners to secure the weapons they do own so they cannot be used in a rampage shooting by a member of their household. That's reasonable.

Then we should look around at other countries and see what is working, and what is not, and pass some TEMPORARY laws, with expiration dates, and see what the results are. If they work? Then we need to have public forums to debate and discuss what our next move should be. If they don't? Then we let them expire.

Regulation is a question of degree. I don't believe anybody is trying to out-law law guns or take them away from law-abiding citizens. But in a political environment in which every issue is reduced to a "pro" and a "con" position, proponents of gun rights often see no distinction between regulation and prohibition – they imagine that any restrictions on gun ownership are some how tantamount to banning them altogether, which is not what I'm suggesting.

My personal hope is that we can find a point in time that we can remove any restrictions we put in place and regain our rights. But only once we have matured enough as a society that we are not killing each other in rampages. But hey, like John Lennon, I'm a dreamer.

My parents gave me three things when I was just ten years old; for Christmas that year I got my first Smith and Wesson .22 caliber 6 shot revolver, Then they enrolled me in a weapon responsibility and hunters safety course and finally they taught me to respect guns and human life. I guess that's why I have a hard time understanding these killers. Because I know that just because you have a weapon doesn't mean you have to use it.

It's the twenty first century folks, and, in case you forgot, this is America. We have a track record of doing some pretty incredible things in this country. It's well past time we quit talking around the problem and do something about it. We owe it to each other to get this done.

What do you think?

~ EJK

www.ejkiser.com

Eric J. Kiser

Eric J. Kiser

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