In response to your reader’s letter “‘No guns’ signs a foolish solution” (Letters, Jan. 15), I remain amazed in the amount of people who become experts at predicting human behavior.
As a clinical counselor with over 30 years’ experience in the field of human behavior, I am certain that even professionals in the field who are called to be expert witnesses in cases are often wrong regarding the prediction of violent behavior in our society, especially with people who have never been diagnosed previously and have no current or past history of violent behavior.
To be sure, violent people are unpredictable and even experts often cannot agree on what causes a seemingly quiet person to suddenly act out. In most cases, someone else with a gun will have little effect in preventing such a person from “acting out.”
These people are irrational. Most states utilize “no gun” signs effectively in such places as bars, schools, and other select places. Common sense: most gun crimes are committed while the perp is under the influence of alcohol. People with guns in bars with alcohol is a dangerous mix. Even the southern states know this.
I do not believe that Texas has the lowest crime rate in the U.S. They do however have very strict penalties for crime with long jail sentences. What is occurring with mass murders in the U.S. has to do with very disturbed, mentally ill people who in the past may have just committed suicide.
Nowadays, they are not just satisfied with killing themselves but wish to take others with them. Arming school personnel to prevent this has been recommended by the National Rifle Association. This assumes that these people are trained properly in not just how to use their weapon, but also very extensive training in handling a very complicated crisis situation.
SWAT teams get this training in how to handle these kind of situations, and it is extensive and they get ongoing training. Are we ready to train school personnel in this area?
Another big issue is that these offenders usually use automatic weapons capable of shooting hundreds of rounds in seconds.
“Liberal thinking” has little to do with common sense thinking. Being able to carry a gun is a right with much responsibility. It does not automatically prevent crime or violence from occurring. The biggest part of gun training is not how to use it but when to use it.
We are a country obsessed with guns, thinking that they are the answer to preventing crime. It has not worked so far. I am all for the right to bear arms, but I do not look to the future and expect crime or violent behavior to change much just because we can now carry guns.
There will still be gangs and violent and mentally ill people who do not care about innocent others. Eliminating assault weapons would probably reduce the number of people killed in a mass attack like we have seen in the past with schools and movie theaters. However, bad things will still happen with or without guns.
I am presently involved with the writing of a work violence policy for a large healthcare system in Chicago. We are smart enough to know that there are no simple solutions to the problem of increasing violence in our society. An emergency room in one of our hospitals had over 30 gunshot victims one warm summer night.
If having a sign in one establishment could have prevented just one death, I think the family of the victim might think it was worth it.