Things businesses don't do for themselves. (See below)


The state of American infrastructure pre-1935.

New Deal road projects put Americans to work.

New Deal roads helped businesses connect with customers.

WPA disaster relief restored transportation networks.

A WPA-built bridge.

Airports built by the WPA advanced the age of commercial aviation.

WPA trainees helped America win World War II.

Blogs

A MODEST PROPOSAL

December 16, 2012

Tags: Connecticut school shooting, guns, gun makers, ammunition, semi-automatic pistols, semi-automatic rifles, children, first graders, second graders, Second Amendment, body armor, gun laws, Jonathan Swift

A MODEST PROPOSAL
For protecting the children of America from being the helpless victims of gun violence, and for making them beneficial to society and the economy

It is a melancholy object to those who watch, on television and across the media in this great country, the grieving parents and classmates of dead children shot by a deranged gunman in Connecticut. Among the many questions they pose in response to this latest episode of supposedly random violence that took twenty-six lives in this one instance, twenty of them six- and seven-year-olds, all the others adults, all of them shot multiple times, is “Why?”

The answer I propose is simple, and I propose to further my answer with a solution that will put the question to rest. My solution will begin with children, but as its benefits become apparent will not remain with them alone but spread to the entire populace.

As to why, it is obvious that the children were shot because they were not armed and did not wear protective clothing. As in previous incidents of shooters who possessed the massive firepower available to any American who visits a gun show regardless of how crazy or how many violent felony convictions in his past, the victims were sitting ducks. This is clearly the fault of our society. How can we continue to allow people of all ages to pursue their educations from grade school through college, attend movies and political rallies or go shopping, without preparing them? As noted earlier, the solution begins with the children.

It is never too early to teach a child to shoot a gun. Some may argue that at kindergarten age, children are too small to properly handle a gun. The answer is, as I’m sure our fine gun manufacturers will agree, is smaller, child-size firearms. Smaller-caliber pistols fitted to small hands could still pack a deadly punch that would make a delusional mass murderer think twice before shooting his way into a school. Such pistols could easily be concealed in backpacks made more innocuous with bright colors and cartoon characters. Shooters with their own arsenals of rapid-fire weapons would not know which Minnie Mouse backpack might contain his final retribution.

Just as children could be taught at an early age to handle and fire small pistols, they could also be trained in the use of downsized semi-automatic rifles. Again, calibers would have to be smaller for ease of handling, but smaller and lighter ammunition would make it possible to exchange magazines quickly. Small children are dexterous and limber, and could acquire these skills with only a few hours of instruction.

Initially, the production of child-sized pistols and rifles, if smaller than 22-caliber to allow for ease of handling, would pose a challenge to our nation’s gun manufacturers. But they have proven time and again that they can rise to such a challenge. When assault weapons were banned they simply waited while their lobbyists convinced lawmakers that Ronald Reagan would have wanted his would-be assassin to have a more powerful gun. Child-sized guns would require production line retooling, but the vast numbers of children entering school would turn cost to profit in no time. Shareholders would be ecstatic.

What about those first moments in an assault on an elementary school before the children realized the situation and began deploying their defensive weapons? Clearly, the attacker would have the advantage. To counteract that advantage and give the children a chance to react, they will need to be outfitted with protective clothing. This again is easily done. Back-to-school (or in the case of kindergartners and first-graders, to-school) shopping will require the addition of Kevlar items to the shopping list, and perhaps Kevlar backpacks and armored lunchboxes, but in a consumer society such as ours these items are only a redesign away. No doubt the manufacturers of protective body armor would welcome the opportunity to make their items in small sizes. They would not have to be black, as adults seem to prefer, but could be made in the bright colors that appeal to children. The would-be mass murderer would be further confused by this protective camouflage. This could result in double layers of protection for the killer-to-be, limiting his mobility and giving further advantage to the children he has – he now realizes – so foolishly targeted.

Head shots could still be a problem, but American ingenuity can certainly produce for classroom wear a combat-ready version of a bicycle or motorcycle helmet of some material that is strong but light enough to limit neck injuries among all but the spindliest children.

Naturally, all this will make back-to-school shopping more expensive. A semi-automatic .22 pistol at around $400 may be more costly when it’s made smaller. Concealable bullet-proof vests also sell for around $400, but it’s what a grade-schooler would want to wear under a T-shirt. Kevlar helmets start at around $250. Backpack rifle plates are $150. But what price is freedom, after all?

First and second-graders may not understand at first why they need to be their own first line of defense against lunatics with guns. They will no doubt complain about having to carry guns and ammunition in their backpacks, even the smaller and lighter versions made for them specifically. They may complain that gun handling and target practice take time away from play or, as they grow older, non-shooting sports. They will undoubtedly protest that clothing that doubles as body armor is heavy and uncomfortable, and whine that they want to wear T-shirts and shorts to school the way they used to. They’ll say the helmets make their necks sore.

Parents and teachers, indeed, our nation’s leaders, will need to explain the circumstances to their young charges. You children simply have to understand, they must be told, that this is what’s required to preserve unrestricted gun ownership in America. We cannot place any significant restrictions on the right to own any and all kinds of guns, even though in the wrong hands they kill people like you, because the gun makers and their lobbyists tell us not to. The Second Amendment is too precious, even more precious than the Sixth Commandment. Once they realize the gravity of the situation, the children will no doubt accept their responsibility.

This will be good for everybody. Once child-sized guns are placed in the hands of first and second-graders and they are swathed in body armor, the benefits can only grow throughout society. There were almost 8 million first and second graders alone in the United States in 2008. These numbers alone will make the stock market rejoice. Some adults, especially in warmer climates requiring a minimum of clothing, may resist carrying guns and wearing armor. Of course, open carry laws are the answer in this case.

And as moviegoers, older students, mall shoppers, and virtually everyone else in the country who goes out in public acquires his and her own firepower and protective clothing, gun manufacturers and the makers of bulletproof vests will find their markets expanding exponentially. Production will increase. In a time of prolonged high unemployment, this can only be good news for our economy to say nothing of our precious freedoms.

Thank the children.

Comments

  1. December 16, 2012 10:32 PM EST
    Nick

    I can't honestly say that I enjoyed reading this blog but I can state that I understand and share your frustration. I am a father and the shooting in Connecticut wrenched my heart more than any event I can recall. I am also a hunter and gun owner and just finished a supper of elk spaghetti from an animal I killed this fall with one of those guns. Given the proliferation of privately owned firearms in this great country (about 300 million) I do not feel that any "gun ban" legislation will be any more effective than previous legislation in eliminating mass shootings. I believe that a serious evaluation of the current mental health system is in order- perhaps getting people with these type of disorders will help. I really do not know and am distressed and mystified with our incredibly violent culture. I am at a loss and all I can do is to hug my daughter closer.
    Thanks for writing this- perhaps it will propel us all to an honest discussion of these problems.

    Chris
    - Chris Chambers
  2. December 18, 2012 1:45 PM EST
    Excellent. Much more developed than the modest proposals I posed in the Yahoo News comment section:

    We need to close the schools down, they is just breeding grounds for liberalism and killing grounds for little children. The Constitution gives us all the right and the duty to own guns but not the right to an so-called education. Our Founding Fathers knowed that guns is more important than edcuation. Its time to take this country back!!!

    Replies

    1users liked this commentThumbs UpThumbs Down3users disliked this commentArgle • 11 hrs ago Report Abuse
    So what is your alternative suggestion for educating our children?

    Teach them to shoot and arm them, that is all the education they need. AK-USA is already manufacturing scaled down lightweight but powerful semi-automatic rifles for children as young as 5. (Littler children must be accompanied by certified armed nannies at all times.)

    These cute but powerful weapons are available decorated in desert camo and imprinted with the Ten Commandments. They can be customized with the child's name and the slogan "[Your Child's Name] Loves Freedom." Advanced models have infra-red aiming systems that can be programmed to distinguish skin color, body type and headgear and also have built-in audio reinforcement modules that say "Good Job, [Your Child's Name]!" when a criminal or other undesirable is hit.
    - Mike W

Read an excerpt

Excerpt: Sal Polisi tells his sons about hijacking a fur truck, in this true story of a family running from the mob.

"A vivid portrait of a New York mobster."
-- Kirkus Reviews

Excerpt: Gordon Gould begins the final court battle in his long struggle to win credit for his role in one of today's most incredible inventions -- the laser.

"A ripping yarn."
-- Wired

Excerpt: John Glenn lifts off into orbit. From Chapter 18 of the autobiograpy of the astronaut and former U.S. Senator.

"Ablaze with drama."
-- Book-of-the-Month Club News

Excerpt: My father, in the last year of his life, decides he'd like to learn to fly.

"Short, cool, and skeletally bright."
-- Washington Post

Excerpt: A Japanese fisherman and a hell-bent Mississippian set out across Lake Mead in one of bass fishing's biggest tournaments, in this rollicking account of the pro sport's early days.

"Truly fine writing."
-- Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Excerpt: Dr. Winawer explains the roots of his faith, and his need to join faith with medicine as he confronts his wife's illness.

Excerpt: The rabbis at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles learn of an Israeli's amazing journey inside Germany's neo-Nazi movement.

Excerpt: Father Lincoln Stelk conveys the joy of a baptism in the opening passage from this account of two years in the life of a small church and its congregation.