Dan Mooney

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October 24, 2013
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Dan Mooney: Gun restrictions not the answer after school shootings

The heartbreaking atrocity at the Sparks Middle School will spark further debate about gun violence. We can be sure that gun-control extremists will seize this opportunity to prey on the mass feelings of further personal atrocities and “altruistic” compassion that such intense incidents cause.

Widespread American-style freedom allows us the power to choose among comprehensive ranges of behaviors.

Since Cain slew Able, vicious and murderous assaults on fellow humans are still a pervasive human (not inhumane) characteristic.

In 1910, there were about 230 reported murders in America. Today, Americans have an estimated 270 million firearms and rising. Yet the murder rate has decreased to the lowest rate in more than a century. This inverse relationship between gun ownership and the frequency of American murders poses the question, “is there a direct (or indirect) positive relationship between the two?” Is the murder rate reduced by high gun ownership?

Let’s look at methods of reducing or eliminating firearm violence. All problems are preceded by a change with five methods of resolution: prevention, correction, contingency, interim and adaptive.

Of course, prevention is the highest-quality action but the most difficult to apply and not possible in this case. Preventing gun violence would require removing all guns in the United States. It would not be possible to remove guns from those who obtain them with criminal intent.

Contingency and corrective action, the second and third options, are out of the question because both apply only after the damage has been done.

The fourth option, interim action, carves out time to be used to find the change that caused the incident so it can be corrected and prevented. It starts after an incident occurs, too late for preventive action.

Adaptation would incite extreme cultural upheaval and conflict. Yet, in that the cause is so deeply embedded in our culture and not yet observable, American opinion seems to be evolving toward an adaptive attitude. Thus, while undesirable, it moves into first place as the preferred alternative.

Adaptation would require a long period of enlightened research, isolated from the conflict, to identify the cultural changes that cause gun violence. This method also would provide time for efforts to reduce knee-jerk responses to major incidents from gun controllers that consistently tumble us into fear and outraged chaos.

On the other hand, for the above reasons, the option with the highest success probability might be a combination of interim and adaptive action. If so, interim action, while adapting to the current state of affairs, is the preferred alternative to the removal of freedom and subjugation that would follow massive gun control.

The Harvard Business School negotiations program “Getting to Yes” contains a feature known as “The Best Alternative to a Negotiated Settlement” (BATNA). It appears that this may be our BATNA. Learning to adapt appears to be the stage at which our culture is stuck. We must make every possible effort in the interim to find the changes that cause the small amount of gun violence we do have.

There is some probability that there have been no American cultural changes that cause gun violence. Our inclination to observe it now may be simply “stimulus overload,” our superior informational means to record and display atrocities that burn deep within our heightened modern sensibilities.

Dan Mooney, a 40-year Carson City resident, may be reached at Nevada4@aol.com.


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The Nevada Appeal Updated Oct 24, 2013 12:15AM Published Oct 24, 2013 12:15AM Copyright 2013 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.