Two things were lodged in the trending corner of my Twitter feed all day yesterday. One was Jordan B Peterson, author of the best-selling book Twelve Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.
Peterson’s book has sold over a million copies. He talks to sold out auditoriums and draws millions to his Youtube page by delivering a message of personal responsibility and telling young men to clean their rooms and grow up.
Yesterday, the Peterson profile piece that I was sure was eventually going to come out, in one way or another, hit the NY Times. In it, Peterson is quoted at length about feminine and masculine roles and said a pile of other things, in detailed, hard to take out of context quotes that are sure to make him less friends in the 21st century western world.
The title and lead line of the profile was Jordan Peterson: Custodian of the Patrimony. He says there’s a crisis in masculinity. Why won’t women — all these wives and witches — just behave?
So, the Twitter storm loomed over him for a few hours until it shifted to another tragic school shooting. 10 children were killed in Santa Fe High School in Texas. It was another disillusioned teenage boy with access to a weapon and the ability to bring it into his school.
I’m not sure I can say much more than I have already on the morality of gun violence. So, I’ll just cut to the chase. While American men everywhere are turning to a Canadian psychology professor to tell them their manly thoughts, we seem to have forgotten one of our most important manly thought responsibilities; keeping our children safe.
When it comes to school shootings, the standard should be zero. And unless we’ve got a non political, non bullshit answer for how we ought to stop it, we should put down the lobster psychology books and get to work.
Twelve things—why not—that will reduce school shootings in America to an irreversible minimum. An Irreversible minimum was the term we used for our goal when I was leading a team responsible for stopping violence in Iraq. I’m not advocating that we do all these things. Whether we choose to do them is another discussion. In fact, several of these ideas are plainly bad ones we won’t or shouldn’t do. But saying them out loud to figure out where the line is, is better than what we’re getting from our civic leaders who can’t seem to get beyond either thoughts and prayers or banning all guns.
So here goes.
1-Stopping school shootings is someone’s job. Not a part of their job where they do other things like teaching children or keeping things quiet before retiring as sheriff or leading the rest of the country. Some organization or agency needs to be responsible for the goal of school safety with one result being ZERO American school shootings. Someone needs to stand up after every shooting and stare into the camera and tell the world they failed at their only purpose.
If you want something to happen, make it someone’s job.
2-If your child uses your gun in a shooting, you are going to prison as if you pulled the trigger.
3-75% reduction in high powered assault rifles on the street in 1 year. Tomorrow every high-powered assault rifle has a value of $20K for exchange to the U.S. government. You can keep them if you want to. But they’re worth at least $20K to you. It would cost America about $40 billion; half what we spent bailing out the banks; a few months of what the war in Iraq cost us.
Expand that to a risk adjusted price for all other fire arms.
There are more guns than adults in America. Perhaps this matters.
4-It’s as hard to use my gun if you’re not me as it is to use my cell phone if you’re not me. That technology exists. If we cared enough, we’d use it.
5-Free, modern gun safes for every household in America. Whether you have guns or not. It’s a building code.
6- Overwhelming, trained, professional, armed law enforcement in every school that have no other job but to keep our children safe.
7-Rapid, sweeping upgrades in school facilities that include armored doors, automatic locks and other physical security measures.
8-TSA like security at entries outside of the learning area of schools to create a security boundary and stand-off zone. If we can keep a Starbucks in an airport running under those conditions, we can do it with a school.
9-Firearm tracking technology. Again, what can be true of my phone can be true of my gun.
10. Stop having societal discussions about the solutions. The causes may be societal, the solution is not. We solved 9/11 style plane hijackings with a lock on the door to the cockpit, not by peace in the Middle East.
11-A special interest group that protects the Second Amendment by advocating for measures that reduce gun violence not by advocating for measures that reduce gun legislation.
12-No gun ownership. This is the one I don’t want. But the reality is, the government won’t need to take it from my cold dead hands. They’ll just need to stop giving me everything they do now if I’ve got one and refuse to turn it in. No police will respond to my residence. No fire department will either. No first responders. No social security check. No subsidized power bill. No drivers license. No school for my kids…you get the point. We have guns at the leisure of the government. Pretending that’s not the case helps us minimize the dire need for us to care about gun violence.
That’s the list of 12 things.
If you don’t like it, come up with your own and lets start moving this conversation from the political and abstract into the material application. If many of these seem too big and hard to do, I’ll remind you we’re actively planning construction for a two thousand mile wall along the border with Mexico. If that seems realistic but an automated locking door on every class room or a gun buy back program doesn’t, then you appear to be more afraid of the people with bad intentions outside the country than the people with bad intentions inside the country.
And there’s really only one conclusion to be drawn from that.
Problems have solutions. Not liking them and doing them anyway is part of the deal.