The framers of the Constitution compromised in 1776. Abraham Lincoln compromised in the midst of the Civil War to pass the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. Our current leadership should learn something from our wise forefathers.
Although the U.S. House of Representatives finally passed the Senate’s fiscal cliff bill late Tuesday night, two-thirds of the Republicans were willing to cause financial chaos, taking the position that not one dime of new taxes would be levied on one American. What sense does it make to destroy the country to save it?
Sen. Lindsey Graham, like most Republicans, not only opposes new gun control laws, he has announced that he owns an AR-15 assault rifle. The question is “Why?” No conservative has given a rational, credible explanation of why private citizens need to own high-capacity semi-automatic assault weapons.
The only solution to the school massacre problems, per the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre, is more deadly weapons in the schools. And thus far anti-gun advocates have only said “no” to more weapons in the schools.
Simplistic, irresponsible, absolutist thinking will solve few public policy issues.
A middle ground, non-lethal weapons technology alternative is available. It is called XREP (eXtended Range Electro-Muscular Projectile), and it can disable a shooting threat in a crowded environment, such as a school, with a minimum probability of innocent collateral casualties. It shoots a disabling electro-shell from any 12-gauge shotgun, effective up to 100 feet, a decent standoff distance from the threat. School administrators, resource officers and some teachers could easily be trained to use the weapon.
This technology demonstrates that gun control does not have to be an absolutist either/or choice.
The same is true of other difficult public policy debates. Gov. Christie of New Jersey demonstrated innovative, responsible leadership recently by agreeing with the teachers’ union to implement performance merit pay, rather than seeking to eliminate the union, as some GOP governors have done.
It is good that the fiscal cliff was temporarily averted. However, those 11th-hour negotiations are not an acceptable model to address major fiscal issues yet unresolved. It is not rocket science to communicate and compromise across political lines, in a timely and responsible manner. But some problems may be too important to be left just to the politicians.