From the Right



America needs to talk about a lot more than just guns

Ruben Navarrette Jr. on

SAN DIEGO -- After the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Americans are eager to talk about guns.

Half the country seems to be saying that firearms deserve all the blame for tragedies like these, while the other half is trying to exonerate guns completely. Both arguments are wrong.

Not that Americans shouldn't talk about guns -- and gun control. We should. Now that 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz has been charged with killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, this is a good time to do it.

We need to keep high-powered rifles out of the hands of the troubled, alienated and mentally ill by requiring those who buy them to take a psychological test. We also must limit the number of guns bought by one person in a given year; ban the AR-15, which isn't really intended for hunting unless you're hunting humans; raise the legal age to buy a gun to 21; and strengthen background checks, as President Trump reportedly wants to do.

We also need to be more aggressive in monitoring gun sales to individuals who fit the profile. When the FBI pursues mass murderers and serial killers, agents often use a profile that suggests the suspects are white males. So, just like they have done with Muslim Americans in terrorism cases, the FBI should keep a registry of white males who stockpile high-powered weapons and subject them to extra scrutiny.

Americans do need to talk about guns. Yet, while we're distracted by that conversation, here's a list of other really important things we're still not talking about:

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-- Whether America's youth have gradually become desensitized to violence by blockbuster movies;

-- Why our country is so bad at detecting individuals with mental health issues and getting them the help they need;

-- Why some parents do a bad job of keeping tabs on their child's behavior or keeping them away from dangerous things;

-- Whether violent video games (especially first-person simulated shooter games) trivialize and encourage violence;


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