To the editor: Another week, another mass shooting, another round of “thoughts and prayers” without any semblance of meaningful action. Every premeditated murder has three component parts: MOTIVE, OPPORTUNITY, and MEANS. We seem willing to talk about motive if motive is related to mental health, not so much if it deals with issues of race/gender preference/xenophobia. We are willing to wax eloquent about ways to limit opportunity by hardening schools. Sen. Ted Cruz suggested limiting entry to a single entrance and doubling down on the number of armed guards. He seems to have forgotten that either fire or bomb threats require quick ways to exit a building. Self-locking doors? Did not one of those fail horribly in Texas last week? Some gun proponents have suggested arming teachers. (I will note in passing those teachers apparently cannot be trusted by some of us to select textbooks or even teach without fear that somehow their ideas might run afoul of approved conservative dogma. However, our lack of faith in their abilities as teachers does not mean we should not trust them to be steadfast armed guards for our children, preferably at the same substandard pay characteristic of most school districts.
Any serious discussion of means brings us to the easy availability of guns in America. Not just any guns, mind you, but the deadliest guns available, military grade semi-automatic rifles with standard magazines carrying 30 rounds and larger magazines of 100 rounds. These weapons are designed for one thing and one thing only —to kill and do it quickly, one shot for each trigger squeeze. They are particularly good for mass targets where aiming is not necessary, and volume of fire is key.