Traverse City Record-Eagle

August 10, 2012

Another View: Shootings raise questions

By the New Castle News, New Castle, Pa.

---- — The latest mass shooting incident in America will produce a disturbing list of questions and tragic lack of answers.

Why would a man — identified by authorities as a white supremacist — open fire at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin?

Perhaps further investigation will reveal a motive for the shootings that left six people dead. But it is equally possible that it will be chalked up to the inexplicable actions of a madman, a social misfit who finally lashed out with deadly bloodshed.

It's basically the same excuse that's been heard plenty of times in the past.

Something similar occurred a couple of weeks ago in Colorado, where a man began firing in a crowded movie theater. There is a tendency to dismiss these outrageous acts as senseless and unpredictable, but in the Colorado case, extensive planning and preparation went into the attack.

Perhaps the attacker was insane. However, it's also worth asking whether someone who could conceive of this plan and then carry it off may have provided some warning signs.

Whenever these types of attacks occur, there are calls for increased public safety. But is the nation willing to pay for metal detectors at entrances for movie theaters and similar public venues? . . .

Then there is the Sikh temple. Are we prepared to secure churches from attacks? Post armed guards during services?

The harsh reality is that perfect security in this world is not attainable. Someone intent on committing violent acts — regardless of reason — can find a way to do so. . . .

Curiously absent in the aftermath of these incidents is much public discussion about restricting access to guns. This being a tough election year, Democrats who might normally make calls for more regulations are remaining silent on the subject.

This may reflect the majority mood in America that's suspicious of expanded gun control. Yet that attitude may not persist if the killings continue.

As part of our belief in limited government restrictions on individuals, we oppose broad gun control measures.

However, we are open to thoughtful discussions about ways to better assess potentially dangerous individuals by improving mental health services, and to eliminate devices and weapons that appear to have no other purpose than to kill as many people as possible.

Unfortunately, thoughtful dialogues about guns and violence in America are hard to come by.

Still, perhaps these tragedies will force more people to consider the sort of society they wish to live in. Going to the movies or to church shouldn't be the equivalent of risking your life.

New Castle News New Castle, Pa.