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Three Lessons of Newtown

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Those who do not learn from the mistakes of history are doomed to repeat them.

The recent history of senseless mass murder in schools -- most shockingly in Newtown, Conn. -- has reiterated three simple lessons.

First, ban assault weapons along with the high-capacity magazines that feed them. Now.

Period.

These weapons of mass destruction are not protected by the Second Amendment. They are protected by the bullies at the NRA and the cowardly political leaders who are afraid of them.

Two bold political leaders -- New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and California Senator Diane Feinstein -- are taking concrete steps to outlaw these weapons.

Bloomberg is doing this by spending his wealth to oppose NRA-backed candidates and speaking out almost daily against assault weapons and background check loopholes at gun shows.

Feinstein vows to introduce a bill the first day Congress convenes in January to reinstate the lapsed Federal Assault Weapons Ban. Any senator or Congress member who opposes her will have blood on their hands the next time this happens.

Second, we need to do much better as a society in recognizing mental health problems earlier and particularly in treating alienated and troubled adolescent males, who are the perpetrators of these copycat school mass murders.

Parents need to have better access to mental health resources to help their troubled sons and as a society, we must spot these distressed youngsters earlier and get them the help they need before they snap like Adam Lanza and Seung-Hui Cho and others like them have in recent years.

Three, we must treat violence in movies, TV and video games like we have treated pornography in the past: severely restrict access to kids and encourage a general shunning by society of those who peddle violent entertainment. It desensitizes us all, but particularly adolescent males who then copy this very violent lifestyle and wreak havoc on society.

Newtown's horror, I believe, may be a tipping point in these three debates. An assault weapons ban, earlier mental health intervention for troubled adolescents and a crackdown on violent popular culture are long overdue.

President Obama and Congress must lead this three-pronged war to prevent violence against our children.

Every day that passes without concrete action is a ticking time bomb.

Tom Allon is a 2013 candidate for Mayor of New York City.