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Published: Friday, February 1, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Gun violence

'Big Brother' solutions scary

Various editorials, columnists, letters, and bloggers declare something must be done to address the repeated mass murder sprees in this country. But some of the calls to protect the public are far scarier than the risk.
Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, airline travel has become almost unbearable. Every time there's another thwarted attack, we lose more freedom and are subject to more hassles and invasive requirements. Ultimately, al-Qaida won -- they need never succeed in another domestic attack, as we just keep injuring ourselves in response to the threat.
Now, we have the NRA, whose grand vision is arming everyone, calling for putting armed guards in schools as the solution to protect against further Sandy Hook massacres. Really? Haven't schools become enough like prisons the past couple of decades, as "the solution" to student violence, gangs, and drugs?
A recent letter even proposed closing foreign military bases and bringing all the troops home to protect us (which is unconstitutional). Do we really want to live in country with armed guards in every school corridor, every store at the mall, every theater, on every street corner, watching us, "protecting us"? Do we want a "machine" as in the show "Person of Interest" tracking our every move, reading every e-mail and text, listening to every phone conversation, to ensure our "safety"?
We need to do something, but there's no silver bullet. I think banning semi-auto assault rifles/handguns, or at least large clips, should be a part of that. The intent Second Amendment's "well-regulated militia" intent is to enable the overthrow of the government if it ever goes sideways is obsolete, as no currently legal guns would stand a snowball's chance against modern military weapons. We need to enhance diagnosis and treatment of the mentally ill/sociopathic, without launching a witch hunt (most of the perpetrators had nothing in their background that would lead to commitment, nor make them ineligible to buy guns).
Ultimately, whatever steps are taken, we must not allow ourselves to slide into an Orwellian society, with Big Brother "protecting" us.
Jim Anderson
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Herald Editorial Board

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