In 2012 our country was infected with too many deaths by gun.
The massacre of children in Connecticut and the sniper who killed two firefighters responding to a house fire the sniper set to kill his sister are the two latest atrocities inspiring fresh calls for more government control of guns and ammunition.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) wants to ban most guns, including most handguns, and finger print and photograph remaining legal gun owners.
It's a feel good solution, but, sadly, violence has a deeper set of causes than the weapon used and more gun control may even cause more violence.
Here along the border, we are familiar with the fact that Mexico has stringent gun control laws that make Sen. Feinstein look like an NRA pinup. Mexico also has a higher rate of death by gun than the U.S. does. Mexico is the living example of the old wisdom that when guns are outlawed only the outlaws will have guns.
Some of those guns were automatic weapons supplied to the Mexican outlaws by the Obama program known as Fast and Furious. Without a background check.
Before Newtown, the two most deadly and horrific school massacres occurred in Britain (1996, 16 children and one adult dead) and Germany (2009, 16 students dead)---two countries with much stricter gun laws than Sen. Feinstein proposes.
Similarly, in the worst ever massacre of young people in 2011, a Norwegian shooter killed 69 summer campers and wounded 110 others in a country with very strict laws against gun ownership.
NRA President Wayne LaPierre was roundly denounced for proposing that the answer to shooters killing children at schools was to have someone at school trained and capable of defending the students by shooting back.
But consider the facts. In these recent massacres, the shooter has deliberately sought out a "gun free zone" so that no one will be there to shoot back.
The Batman movie shooter chose the only theater (out of four showing that same movie) where a "gun free zone" sign was posted.
And of course all the schools are "gun free zones".
The Clakamas Town Center shooting near Portland, Oregon, was stopped by a gun carrying concealed weapon permit holder who aimed his gun at the shooter who then shot and killed himself.
I'm no expert, but the pattern looks to me like these shooters are all about controlling the maximum mayhem before committing suicide to control the outcome. The last thing they want is to confront someone shooting back and ruining their plan.
I'm haunted by the courageous teachers in Newtown who died trying to save their students by confronting the shooter with nothing but their bodies.
A recent New York Times article documents some teachers in Utah volunteering to take the training and earn a license to carry a concealed firearm. A teacher in the course is quoted as saying that with the gun she can defend her students with more than her life.
Maricopa County AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio has dispatched his trained volunteer posse members to local schools so that if a "bad guy" comes on campus, a "good guy" will be there to shoot back.
In the ideal world, there would be no shooting at all on any campus. In our world, our kids are targets and the "gun free zone" mentality is only attracting the shooters.
Consider that the political elites who preach gun control as the answer don't believe their own rhetoric.
Sen. Feinstein (when she was Mayor Feinstein) pushed through a San Francisco ordinance banning concealed weapon permits. Except for one--hers.
The City of Chicago has strict municipal gun control laws and the highest murder rate by gun in the nation. 500 murders in 2012, 60 of those the murder of school age children.
Chicago's Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, promotes more gun control as the answer, but his children attend a public school with an armed guard. It's the only public school in Chicago allowed to have an armed guard. A good guy shooting back is the proper precaution for Mayor Emanuel's kids, but not for anyone else's kids.
NBC's David Gregory can waive a large ammunition magazine in Wayne LaPierre's face on national television to make a point about gun control as the answer to gun violence, David Gregory's children attend the Sidwell Friends School in Washington D.C. which is not a gun free zone. The Sidwell school has 11 armed guards.
President Obama says "enough is enough" (and everyone shares that sentiment) but proposes "gun safety" laws in the next session of Congress. His daughters also attend Sidwell Friends School. Every other school in DC is a gun free zone.
I personally favor background checks on gun purchasers whenever and wherever a firearm is purchased. But I am under no illusion that these checks will always keep guns from people who should not have them.
The mentally ill or impaired should not have guns. The Newtown shooter first shot his mother in the face four times while she slept then stole her guns to carry out the school massacre. The sniper in upstate New York was a felon barred from gun ownership (he had used a hammer to kill his grandmother) who got a friend to purchase the guns for him.
Most importantly, understanding why shooters do it eclipses concentration on the type of weapon they use.
On the same day as the Newtown massacre, a man with a knife broke into an elementary school in Henan province, China and slashed 22 children. This was only the most recent attack on school children in China. In two other recent attacks, the weapon of choice was a meat cleaver, and, in another attack, a car.
The easy, emotionally satisfying answer to incomprehensible evil attacks on our children is to blame the gun.
Since draconian gun control laws in other "civilized" countries have not protected children, and since evil attackers of children will use any weapon at hand, shouldn't we be more concerned with what motivates these attackers, and "control" that?