The NRA has a new ad in which they point out the President’s hypocrisy in opposing having armed guards or teachers in our schools when his own daughters have such protection. Below the belt? The President thought it would lend credence to his recent press conference/executive order signing on gun restrictions having four children standing behind him as he railed against those who support the concept of an unfettered Second Amendment. So, who is right? The answer? Our children should not be used as pawns by either side in this debate. It seems that on any issue which divides us, we are incapable of acting like adults and having a meaningful discussion to lead to a resolution or at least a positive improvement to whatever the problem is. The gun debate continues to highlight the division in this country between the left and the right and, particularly with the gun debate, the urban versus the rural. People who live in cities, mostly those in “Blue States,” seem to believe that guns are bad and should be banned or seriously restricted. People who live in rural areas, mostly “Red States” believe, almost universally, that the Second Amendment means what it says. As with most issues, the truth lies somewhere in between, with neither side willing to explore the real solutions to the problem. First, lets look at some facts. Do you know how many guns there are in this country? Most estimates indicate approximately 300 million. As one commentator pointed out, if you banned all guns today and began some kind of confiscatory program, it might take a hundred years to run down all the guns in this country. Go ahead and ban assault rifles, providing you can define what those are which is important to note. One gun shop owner demonstrated that he could fire off three ten round clips from a rifle in less than ten seconds. So much for restricting the number of bullets in a clip. Chicago has one of the toughest anti gun laws in the nation. Last year, it also had the highest murder rate in the nation with most of those gun killings. The Justice Department found that during the ten years we had an ban on assault weapons, there was no reduction in gun violence. The depraved shooter in Connecticut stole the gun he used to slaughter innocent children. So much for background checks. Banning or restricting guns of any kind, tightening background checks, restricting the number of bullets in a clip? It makes for a good show which this Administration is notorious for but it simply won’t prevent what happened in Colorado or Connecticut. In fact, an article in the December 23rd L.A. Times, hardly a right wing publication, pointed out that mass shootings have not increased over the last three decades. The article cited a criminologist who indicated, “There’s been no trajectory upward or downward.” Second, if banning or restricting guns is not the answer, what is? In our President’s 23 point proposal to supposedly reduce guns and arguably the violence associated with guns, number 23 indicated we should have a dialogue about mental health issues. A dialogue? After many years spent in law enforcement, I can assure you there are two kinds of people who commit crimes, with or without a gun: psychopaths and sociopaths. People who are mentally ill or people who don’t follow the same morality as you and I, people who have no compunction about harming others, including killing them if it suits their purpose. As to the first group, the mentally ill, instead of spending billions on electing one bad Prexy after another, we should put that money into improving our mental health system, including restricting the ability of the truly mentally ill from committing crimes with or without a gun. As to the second group, we need to continue to support and improve our criminal justice system and safeguard public places. We already do so at airports. Unfortunately, it now appears we will have to do so at all venues where masses of people gather including our schools. If that includes arming guards, teachers or administrators, sign me up. I’ll sleep better at night knowing my granddaughter has an armed guard ready to protect her if some nut shows up to mow her down in a hail of bullets.