Solving Sandy Hook

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Bob Ellis offers a modest proposal to stop mad young American men from acquiring, and using guns on their fellow humans.

The victims of Sandy Hook. (Image courtesy Time)

"There are so many questions to be answered," CNN keeps telling us — but there is only one, really.

It is: how do we stop mad young men from acquiring, and using guns on humans?

That Adam Lanza was autistic, a child of divorce, mathematically brilliant, scorned by his brother and father, nagged by his mother, or incompetent with girls doesn’t matter. It matters only that he was mad for a while and got three guns and used them. He wasn’t going to be cured easily, or prevented easily from doing what he did. He failed to buy a gun, and used his mother’s three guns. There were locking systems in the school, but he smashed his way in, or got in early.

What is to be done?

Well, there is a solution. Most gun-murders are by males under twenty-six, and gun-suicides too. If any male under twenty-six found with a gun were arrested and put in gaol for six months, the number of grieving, shattered Americans would come down by a million, and the number of American gunshot victims come down by twenty-two thousand a year.

It would cost almost nothing to implement. The alternatives, putting a hit squad of marines in every school, and counselling round the clock the fifty thousand traumatised survivors of gun murder every year, would cost ten billion dollars per annum. This might cost a hundred thousand.

There is a precedent for this. It’s the law forbidding anyone under eighteen to drive a car. A car is a dangerous weapon, and you have to be old enough to handle it. And you have to pass a lot of tests to allow you to have one.

A gun is also a dangerous weapon. And it is proved that males under twenty-six are the ones who do eighty percent of the gun murders in America.

It is not true of females, and they should be allowed to acquire guns for protection if they like, so should householders aged over twenty-six, or adult men who want to protect their children. And schoolmistresses, and the rest of them.

But the core group of probable assailants should not. They can go to rifle clubs if they want. But they can’t carry guns, or own them.

They should be given three months to hand them back, and be paid the value of them by the police.

And soon there will be five thousand, not thirty thousand, deaths by gunfire annually in America. And half a million fewer survivors, grieving, maimed, made mad and arming themselves against the next assault.

It’s an obvious answer, like the age limit on drinking, or the alcohol limit on drinking and driving.

Ninety-two percent of Americans would support it, and it could be passed as a law by the end of February.

Without it, the present inferno will continue, and many more good people will die.


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