Not Law and the Biosciences – but not Rocket Science Either

Friday, July 20, 2012, Aurora, Colorado

Sunday, August 5, 2012, Oak Creek, Wisconsin

Tuesday, December 11, 2012, Clackamas Mall, Clackamas, Oregon

Friday, December 14, 2012, Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut.

Tomorrow, two weeks from now, two months from now . . . your home town or mine?  Probably not, but almost certainly some Americans’ home towns – we’ve seen at least four of these mass shootings in just the last 5 months.

Trying to stop or even reducing the number of mass shootings in a country that already has hundreds of millions of guns and billions of rounds of ammunition in private hands would not be easy.  But if, for political reasons (bolstered by some newly successful constitutional arguments), we rule out the regulation of guns and ammunition, it seems likely to go from very difficult to beyond impossible.

Gun lovers will continue to deny that too many guns and too much ammo is a problem. Some will continue to mouth that the problem is too few.  If only those second graders had been carrying – or, at least, their teachers.  They will cry that this tragedy is being inappropriately politicized.  Maybe a few of them will have qualms, maybe not.

But the rest of us – those not infatuated with automatic weapons and daydreams of using them to repel invasions from Russia, China, or Washington, D.C. – must not let gun politics continue as usual. We must say “enough” and start working, thoughtfully and carefully, to come up with effective ways to prevent, or at least limit, these shootings.  If we never start, we can never have any success – that’s not bioscience, or rocket science.

Our lack of any policy response to these killings, though understandable in terms of short term politics, is, in a broader sense, just plain crazy.  So maybe there is some kind of “biosciences” in it after all.

Hank Greely