STOP TREATING SYMPTOMS; SHUT OFF THE SOURCES
14) Enact the death penalty for any violent crime, which I hereby define as child sexual abuse “and up.” Federal law. No plea bargains, no deals, and an appeals process of one year maximum. Period. The legal merry-go-round that exists today sends the message to criminals that we as a nation are not serious about punishing those who commit the most heinous acts against others; and the cost of keeping killers and the other worst offenders housed, fed, and cared for medically is draining federal and state coffers. It has also, in the most bizarre instances, created a sick semi-celebrity status for some of these criminals (and I will deal with that issue in a moment). The other benefit of finally getting serious with the worst criminals will be to remove them from the gene pool forever. Evidence is mounting that killers are wired differently mentally and physically. Whether or not that is true, the nation simply cannot afford to continue to perpetuate through future generations whatever it is that enables them to kill.
15) Make families (core family: mother-father-children) financially responsible for restitution to victims if any immediate family member ever commits not just a violent crime but any crime. Federal law. The criminal apologists, and a lot of others, will rush to the defense of families: “They cannot be responsible for everything children and other family members do.” Great. So this law will send the message that people whose idea of “parenting” is the act of conceiving children, with little thought to actually raising them, should think twice before rushing to conceive. Those who do take parenting seriously will take it even more seriously. No one in the immediate family will be allowed to walk away from mass killings because “it’s not their fault.” That’s what the family of the Newtown gunman — who never really dealt with his mental illness and then thought it was a great idea to bring high-powered weapons into the home where he lived — is going to be allowed to do. This has got to end, and the core family (although I apologize for not presenting this provision until #15) may be the most important part of the solution.
16) Eliminate or supersede laws enacted in recent years prevent the state from helping the mentally ill if they or their families “don’t want to be helped.” Federal law. These laws came about because in some instances the government was locking people away without enough consultation, in dark, sad places where there was little or no actual treatment. There is no guarantee that can never happen again, but there is so little privacy anymore, and so much media access, social and otherwise, that abuses are much more likely to be brought to light. At some point, the community must protect itself. It is about the greater good. “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one.”***
17) Ban movie or book deals, or any form of compensation that originated from a violent crime, to both the criminal and his or her immediate family. Federal law. No one should be committing these crimes against humanity, and no one should profit from them. However, victims of crime and their families are free to do whatever they wish. They’ve suffered. They’ve earned it. Accordingly, victims and their families are free to do anything they want, earn any amount of compensation that originated from them being a victim of a violent crime, without restriction.
Last Thoughts For Now, and Call to Action
It seems as if everyone with an opinion on this ongoing national nightmare has one easy answer for what will fix it, one pet cause or group they blame. I wish it were that simple. It is not. I have laid out the specific actions I believe it is going to take to truly put an end to this madness, and to start healing this country.
Think about it in the quiet of your heart: you know the only way we have a snowball’s chance in hell of changing this hell on earth we have collectively created is to pull together as hard as we can and support each other through this. If that is not the currency you deal in, as my generous Italian relatives said more times than I can count: “You’re money’s no good here.”
I welcome your thoughts. And better still, your action. Contact me today at any social network where I am active. I’m on plenty, and they’re all listed on the Connections page right on this site. Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*** Thanks to Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, and Leonard Nimoy as Spock in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
“Newtown calls for new answers” is a five-part blog series, each of which focuses on specific areas I believe we must address, together, to help stem the rising tide of violence in America.