Extremely Naïve, Misguided, Illogical to Focus on Gun Control, Instead of on Greatly Reducing the Number of Mentally Disturbed
The latest mass shooting occurring in Uvalde, Texas by a mentally disturbed, unloved youth, has triggered new clamors for gun control, especially of military grade weapons, as the solution for eliminating gun violence. Unfortunately, the focus on gun control is naïve, misguided, and illogical just like Prohibition and the “War on Drugs”, since black markets are always available to supply whatever is illegal. Just as the availability of alcohol and addictive drugs was not reduced by making them illegal, precisely because of black markets, the availability of guns would not be reduced by gun control laws, no matter how strict.
Furthermore, just as making drugs illegal did not reduce the number of addicts which has steadily risen over the past decades, restricting the legal availability of guns would not reduce the number of mentally disturbed individuals bent on maiming and killing, who will find guns on the black market. If by some miracle guns were entirely eliminated, individuals wishing to harm others would use other methods, such as home-made bombs, toxic chemicals, drones filled with explosives, arson, and driving vehicles into crowds.
Our nation must realize that the source of gun violence is deeply disturbed individuals, of which there are many. There is no denying that every single mass shooter is deeply mentally disturbed due to bad parenting. Furthermore, the United States has by far the largest number of deeply disturbed and alienated individuals of any nation on Earth. The argument that other nations have mentally disturbed but little gun violence because of strict gun control is flawed, because other nations have far fewer mentally disturbed and alienated citizens. Why? Because their citizenry is ethnically and culturally homogenous, and because their citizens are much less geographically mobile than ours, therefore they have stronger roots and generally have extended family nearby during their entire life. Furthermore, our nation is a population of immigrants from all over the world, the consequence being a lack of a unifying common culture, particularly when our public schools are so mediocre due to deficient curriculums. Diversity is problematic in poorly educated societies. Social and political problems become more acute when the average level of education is low, as is the case in the United States.
The only real, logical, sustainable solution for ending gun violence and greatly reducing our number of mentally disturbed, unloved and alienated citizens is to have a 4-year course on psychology complemented by “group therapy” and “good parenting” workshops in every single public high school, with individual assistance for students having psychological or academic difficulties. Unfortunately, practically no one is proposing that, and not one politician.
When a nation has a politician believing in QAnon and complaining about “Gazpacho police”, that is a sign of deep trouble, a sign that the public school system is incredibly mediocre and that half the nation is severely undereducated, prone to fall for disinformation, misinformation, and wild conspiracy theories. The problem is worsened by the advent of the internet, where the undereducated turn to for news and opinions, most often coming from other undereducated individuals or from organizations wanting to mislead them and cause deep societal and political conflict.
Before the internet and cable TV, news and opinions were curated by fairly well-educated and moral organizations in the press and broadcast television, therefore the undereducated were not steered towards divisive misinformation, conspiracy theories, and absolute nonsense. Now, with the internet, we need all our citizens to be well-educated in order for them not to fall for nonsense and con men, for them to rely mainly on serious news organizations. This requires vastly upgrading our public schools and their curriculum, which is imperative if we want a socially, politically, and economically prosperous nation.
A vastly upgraded public high school curriculum would include 4-year courses on 1) psychology (taught in conjunction with group therapy and good parenting workshops); 2) analytic 20th Century history in great detail; 3) economics/finance/investing; 4) history of art/architecture/design; 5) history of music; 6) the United Nations’ Charter and its Universal Declaration of Human Rights; 7) the world history of human rights violations; 8) comparative religion studied through direct readings of the holy books; 9) logic and critical thinking; 10) ethics and empathy; 11) foreign languages and cultures; 12) introductory and Constitutional law; 13) the major mistakes in economic, social, and foreign policy of the past 100 years.
Essential is the 4-year course on logic/critical thinking, of which there is a great shortage in our nation. That is why our politicians fail to solve many of our problems and disagreements. In addition to our failure to greatly reduce gun violence and drug addiction, there is our failure to eliminate unwanted pregnancies and the related disputes over abortion. Logic would lead to realizing that most unwanted pregnancies involve high school dropouts or poorly performing students, and that the solution lies in greatly improving our public schools through an enlightened curriculum, firm class discipline, lots of homework, and individual attention given to students having academic or psychological difficulties. A well-educated citizenry does not have an unwanted pregnancy problem, and divisive arguments over abortion are minimized.
Logic would lead to requiring all asylum requests be made at American consulates in the country of residence, not at our border. Also, it would finally lead us to correctly implement our asylum law, which clearly applies only to individuals persecuted by their own government, not to individuals fleeing poverty and crime. If we truly want to help Central Americans living in poverty and threatened by crime, we should institute a major Peace Corps program providing excellent schools and helping with infrastructure in their countries. That would practically eliminate illegal immigration, while increasing our hemisphere’s economic, social, and political prosperity. (We have never had a policy of “open borders”, nor should we ever.)
Logic would also lead to requiring all our political candidates to be highly qualified before running for office. Our illogical system allows ignoramuses to run for high office. We absolutely need to require all our political candidates to obtain a very advanced graduate degree covering economic, social, and foreign policy, so that they can, off the top of their head, list the major mistakes in economic, social, and foreign policy of the past 100 years and knowledgeably discuss which would have been the correct policies. Not one president or senator or representative since 1965 has been capable of doing that. No wonder the “War on Poverty” and the “War on Drugs” went nowhere. No wonder we have had countless foreign policy disasters, countless totally avoidable recessions with high unemployment, widespread violence, crime, incarceration, addiction, unwanted pregnancies, and enormous budget deficits and high taxes.
If we want a serene and prosperous nation, we must find highly qualified political candidates with effective, logical, detailed platforms, and no longer vote for superficial, unqualified candidates. There must be a realization that just being a lawyer, or successful businessman, or celebrity, or having years of experience in government, does not mean being highly qualified. What makes a highly qualified candidate is deep knowledge in economic, social, and foreign policy coupled with sharp logic and high character, along with an unwavering commitment to turn all our public schools into elite schools, with no exceptions.
© Edward Sonnino 2022
May 31, 2022