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Peter Samuelson Headshot

Sandy Hook: Carpe Diem

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We can and must legislate in several directions, quickly, while we are in the 15 minute reaction to Sandy Hook is alive, before the press moves on. We should write a legal line in the sand between revolvers that fire six shots before needing reloading, all that could ever be needed for self-defense, all that the framers of the Constitution (who took three minutes to fire two shots of a manually reloadable musket, BTW) could even have imagined technological 'progress' would deliver to gunnery. We can stop adding to the 300 million guns in U.S. circulation (I kid you not: almost one per American) and we can and should outlaw these devices for mass carnage. And given how many guns are out there, we should greatly limit purchases of ammunition, and completely outlaw the kinds of bullets that are designed (as used in Connecticut) to dissipate their energy inside the victim's body, so that maximum damage is caused and the bullet does not exit the victim.

Secondly, we need to make the treatment of mental health challenges as covered and available as the physical ones. Blue Cross, for example limits reimbursement to $15 per visit and caps visits at 20 annually. This on an annual family premium in excess of $25,000.

Thirdly, we need to speak back to the NRA. They are not more powerful than the silent majority of Americans who judge their logic as faulty and self-serving for the gun manufacturers who fund them. The argument that handguns of any description are a protection against totalitarian government is specious -- ask the Syrians fighting just that how effective handguns are against Assad's fighters, bombers, rockets and Shabiha -- the defense against totalitarianism is at the ballot box, in exerting and protecting elected democracy incrementally. If the government turns on us, only RPG's, tanks and aircraft could defeat them by force of arms. Which is nonsense.

And we can tell people like the deceased mother of the shooter in Connecticut that having a collection of semi-automatic guns in a house with a young man, or any other kind of house, is not OK behavior.

Finally, those of my fellow media makers who hide behind the First Amendment, putting forth media that pulls their society down into the gutter need to realize that free will creates an obligation to consider consequence, an obligation to take personal moral responsibility for one's own and one's company's decisions. Rafts of research into brain wiring in adolescence demonstrate that desensitization to the consequences of extreme violence is fueled by hours or repetitive playing of shooter games like Call of Duty. As you hug your own children, please start taking personal ownership of what you are doing to everyone else's kids.