Dennis Flannery

Guns no more kill people than knives stab, pillows suffocate, baseball bats bludgeon or spoons make people fat. It’s the users — the humans behind these tools — that are entirely responsible.

This hue and cry for stricter gun laws is, for the most part, perpetuated by the ill-informed, narrow-minded or agenda-driven, or political hacks who are simply in it for the votes.

It’s important to note that the two cities with the worst gun violence are also the two cities with the strictest gun laws. Strict gun laws have little effect on criminals and none on the insane, but do severely restrict the honest citizen’s ability to protect himself.

No firearm laws or regulations past, present, or proposed for the future would have prevented, or likely will prevent, a single mass killing. Not one mass murderer has acquired his firearm because of lax background checks or lack of registration.

In my opinion, there are two things that will help curtail this horrible violence.

First, we need to get a handle on persons, of any age, with violent mental health issues. We have all heard stories of highly unstable children who cannot be controlled by their frightened parents — parents who cannot get these deranged youngsters the psychiatric help they desperately need or, in extreme cases, get them committed to a secure facility. These are the laws that need to be addressed.

Many, including myself, believe violent movies and video games have little or no effect on a normal, healthy mind but have a monstrous effect on an unbalanced young mind. However, the chances of curtailing the entertainment industry’s continued production of these incredibly violent but profitable products are nil. This is a First Amendment issue and you can rest assured politicians will not propose legislation to restrict this segment of their favored industry.

There are a lot of people suggesting we arm teachers and there are a lot of people who think that is a crazy idea. I fall somewhere in between. To arm unqualified teachers is a really bad idea. That concept is bound to create a far bigger threat than it would prevent. But to allow highly qualified and trained teachers or administrators to be armed may be a good idea. As a possible alternative, I suggest we, as part of the dialogue and analysis we are presently engaged in, look to our retired law enforcement officers, both civilian and military.

Determined by the size of the community, there could be dozens, maybe hundreds of highly qualified retirees who would jump at the chance to volunteer to help protect our children. They might be a parent, a grandparent, aunt or uncle or simply a concerned community member.

Many of these qualified retirees seek out activities that would both benefit their community and fill their time. A high population density in an area may allow these volunteers to dedicate as little as a day or two a week, depending on their available time.

Maybe local police departments or sheriff’s offices would be willing to set up comprehensive screening and training programs for these volunteers. It is possible our children could be protected by a highly dedicated, qualified and trained security force at little or no cost.