Newtown, Connecticut, a national conversation, and two real solutions
Eric Golub is a politically conservative Jewish blogger,...
LOS ANGELES, December 18, 2012 — In the wake of the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, some are already transitioning from mourning to impractical solutions.
The worst idea is the “national conversation,” as if yet another endless discussion will save anyone. The only less useful approach would be another blue-ribbon panel or commission of experts.
Liberals blame guns while conservatives blame popular culture: cartoons, movies and video games. Both avoid the real problem and neither is going away, but nobody wants to utter politically incorrect thoughts, much less make hard choices.
We need the opposite of a national conversation.
We should take these moments of silence we’ve been observing and make them permanent. We should all admit that we have no answers. Cramped thinking, politics and reality block any workable ideas, and everything else we’ve come up with in our interminable “national conversation” will only make matters worse.
Activists are always quick to propose restricting someone else’s freedom. After the Portland, Oregon shopping mall shooting, do-gooders recommended everything short of banning shopping malls.
That idea is so ludicrous that it entertains, but it has its merits. Nothing good comes from shopping malls. People die during Black Friday stampedes when they can buy everything online. Child predators hang out there, kids cut school there, and my frozen dinners are tastier and cheaper than the food court.
Parking is terrible and salespeople shoot people in the eye with fragrances, which is illegal anywhere else. Ban shopping malls and one problem ceases.
Enough irrational madness.
There are two real solutions to tragedies like Newtown that would cause short-term pain but long-term societal benefits.
Start with public schools. While putting armed guards outside every school sounds fantastic, it cannot be done.
The federal government cannot force local governments to do this without federal dollars. That violates the Tenth Amendment. Local governments would love to have Uncle Sam pick up the tab, which would enrage taxpayers.
Schools could pay for it themselves, meaning budget cuts elsewhere. Try firing one public schoolteacher anywhere to hire extra security and see how protecting children fades as a priority. Teachers’ unions have never been about children.
So what can we do about public schools?
We can give up and throw in the towel. We can get out of the public education business altogether.
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