The first step in solving a problem is to properly identify the problem. A misidentified problem wastes time, effort, energy and resources. Misguided legislation can negatively impact rights and freedoms.
Square peg, round hole
VGNP posted it’s first article a little over a year ago. ( #school-shootings-a-national-and-local-issue ) In particular, it pointed out that the problem we all should be trying to solve is school safety and not just solving for people using semi-automatic rifles. Again, I do not want my children shot by an AR-15, shotgun or pistol. Nor do I want them stabbed with a knife, step on a dirty needle, beat into a coma or bullied until they commit suicide. I don’t care how. I do not want them murdered. Certainly while attending school. Unsecured schools is the problem, not the type weapon. Solving for school security takes all threats into account.
Second verse, same as the first
Fast forward a year later, a new set of gun laws are moving through our legislature. This time as a result of a young man committing suicide. Last week, VGNP livestreamed the Vermont Senate Judiciary’s Public Hearing regarding the proposed gun laws. What struck me was that, once again, the legislature was proposing solutions to a misidentified problem. In short, this young man legally purchased a firearm and then used it a few hours later to end his life. The state’s solution was to create a 24 hour waiting period before picking up a newly purchased firearm. The following day, discussion in the Judiciary Committee included a Senator recounting someone she knew that hung himself on a spur of the moment decision. Resultantly, she voted in favor of the firearm waiting period.
As with last year’s misidentified problem, so too is this problem. The real question we should all be asking, not just our legislature, is WHY are suicide rates up in our state and HOW do we help reduce that number? As with school violence, I don’t care about the method of suicide. That’s an absurd discussion. I’d encourage our legislature to drop the firearms nonsense and start focusing their energy and our tax dollars on resolving the WHY and not the HOW.
On an aside, the majority at the hearing were opposing all of the proposed legislation. Ignoring the majority opinion, the laws continue to move towards adoption.