Common Sense Legislation?

March 12, 2018

This Old Walrus just doesn’t get it.  We don’t rely on the Mattachine Society to write legislation on sodomy with young boys.  We don’t (usually) weigh in with the Russian Mafia to write our laws on money laundering. So, why is it that the NRA has become the singular expert – the ‘Go-to People’ – for all issues concerning firearms?

Over the past decade, or so, we’ve had enough mass murders in the U.S. to spot some common ingredients:  (a) Perpetrator is an under-25 white male; (b) He is angry, isolated and/or socially challenged (often described in retrospect as ‘mentally disturbed’); and (c) The weapon of choice is an AR-15 (or equal), accompanied by high-capacity magazines.

Young men mature physically much faster than they mature mentally and emotionally.  A typical 18 to 20 Y.O. male physically looks like an adult, but just hasn’t attained the emotional and mental maturity that post-25 year old adults generally possess.

There is a ton of research which supports the notion that changes in cognitive abilities occurring in males between ages 18 and 25 are essentially a continued process of brain development that start during puberty.  At age 18, a young man is roughly halfway through the entire stage of development. The prefrontal cortex doesn’t have nearly the functional capacity at age 18 as it does at age 25.

It is unfortunate that Congress passed legislation in 1996 which effectively precludes the CDC from conducting research on the causes of gun violence (the Dickey Amendment).

There is some colloquial evidence that people who act out their Rambo fantasies are angry, isolated and/or socially challenged, and there may be a preventable linkage between male brain development and assault weapons, but until qualitative research is conducted, we really won’t know.

Meanwhile, there seem to be a couple of simple interventions which we could enact tomorrow that would put this issue on ‘pause’ until some qualitative research can be conducted:

  • Ban the manufacture, sale or possession of semi-automatic military-style assault weapons in the U.S.;
  • Ban the manufacture, sale or possession of magazines that can contain more than 10 rounds of ammunition, and outlaw devices like bump stocks that make weapons more deadly;
  • Institute universal background checks and close loopholes that let too many people slip through the cracks and purchase firearms despite being a threat to themselves or others;
  • No weapons for suspected terrorists, domestic abusers, or individuals convicted of hate crimes;
  • Impose a three-day waiting period for the purchase of all firearms, and raise the minimum age for buying those weapons to 21;
  • Institute a Gun Violence Restraining Order that allows law enforcement to confiscate weapons from individuals who are deemed dangerous to themselves or others.

These are common-sense solutions to help reduce gun violence in all communities across the U.S. – including accidents, suicides, domestic violence, mass shootings, and acts of terrorism. Most of these reforms are supported by a majority of Americans – not just Democrats or Republicans, but ALL Americans.

And, once we have obtained high-quality qualitative research on the causes of gun violence, our elected officials will be in a much better position to adapt and/or modify these interim interventions to reflect data-driven conclusions on the causes of gun violence in the U.S.

What are we waiting for?

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An article published in The Journal News, a Gannet newspaper serving the lower Hudson Valley, reported on an unfortunate incident involving Aron Rottenberg, who recently suffered third-degree burns to half his body.

As the story goes, Rottenberg had been ostracized by the Skver Hasidic sect that runs the Village of New Square because he did not worship at the community’s main synagogue, headed by Grand Rebbe David Twersky.

A letter distributed to the community in November 2010 by New Square’s leadership and rabbinical court warned that not worshipping at the main synagogue was a severe violation and that anyone in violation must be stopped from using the community’s facilities.

Sources reported that Rottenberg’s family had faced growing levels of intimidation in recent months, including broken windows in their home.

Protests outside the Rottenberg home calling on them to leave led to the family installing surveillance cameras.

On Sunday, May 22, Aron Rotteberg confronted a man carrying a rag soaked with flammable liquid behind his home on Truman Avenue and Rottenberg was severely burned during a confrontation.

Rottenberg is in serious condition at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla but is expected to survive.

Meanwhile, as a country, we are spending Zillions of dollars and sacrificing thousands of our soldiers to death or permanent disability in Iraq and Afghanistan, and not more than 60 miles from Ground Zero, we have extreme religious fanatics engaged in early-stage ‘Hassidic Jihad’.

Today, they attack each other because of the PLACE where they worship.

Apparently, this is not even an issue of “what do you believe?” or “How do you live your life?”

What might happen tomorrow?

I’m concerned and angry, but not quite ready to fight personally.

Yet, our TAX DOLLARS are supporting this insane behavior: The fire district; The police; The district attorney; The public defender; The school district. Each of these entities is involved in this case, and it goes on and on.

I think it is inappropriate for the majority to be saddled with the costs of religious fanatics fighting over turf.

This really is no different from the Crips vs. Bloods, or any other iteration of gang behavior.

Best I can tell, this whole mess looks and smells like it has RICO implications.

Where is the US Attorney? The FBI?

If we are to support this circus with tax dollars, let’s get our money’s worth.