The Tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut

We were on I-95 somewhere in southern Virginia when we learned about what happened yesterday in Newtown, CT. It would have been a horrifying thing to learn about before I had kids. Now with two little kids it is simply unimaginable. I couldn't begin to imagine what it must have been like for those inside the school, let alone the parents of the children who were killed in the attack.

In some way, it was too much, and I stayed away from the news for much of the rest of the day yesterday. This morning, at breakfast, the people in the hotel we were staying in were glued to the news reports and I caught up on more of what happened. I also did a lot of browsing online and it was no surprise to see a lot of anger against gun violence. I'm no fan of guns and while I think the second amendment is obsolete, I think that most people don't realize how hard it is to amend the constitution. It is incredibly hard and designed to be difficult because constitutions are documents of stability.

Then, too, even if the second amendment was eliminated, not much would change. The black market for guns would simply grow. Witness what happened with alcohol during prohibition.

It seems to me that short term solutions are needed to protect children and schools. These solutions must build in the assumption that people who really want them will be able to get guns, legal or otherwise. It also seems to me that we have the technology to develop a system that would detect when a gun enters a building. I'm not talking about metal detectors. I'm talking about more sophisticated devices that would detect the weapons themselves. When a gun crosses a threshold and is detected by such a system, it would trigger an instant lockdown. Doors would close automatically. They would lock. The person with the weapon would be trapped in an entryway, unable to get any further inside the building. Exceptions could be built in for law enforcement.

I'm not an engineer and it's not my intent to get into the technical details of how such a system would be built. And the expense is secondary–especially when children's lives are being protected. Build a system like this, install it in schools, and once it is operational, then we can move on to the debate of where guns belong in our law and in our country. The primary focus, however, should be on protecting our kids, and such a system as I've described does so without focusing on who gets a gun and how. Leave that debate for later. Protect the kids.

My heat goes out to everyone affected by the shooting in Newtown, especially the families who live there.

Note: As I am on vacation, and not in the mood to debate the issue of guns, I'm closing the comments on this post.

About Jamie Todd Rubin

Jamie Todd Rubin writes fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications including Analog, Clarkesworld, The Daily Beast, 99U, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He was featured in Lifehacker’s How I Work series. He has been blogging since 2005. By day, he manages software projects and occasionally writes code. He lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.