When a teenager armed with an AR-15 rifle killed 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida, last week, Americans were as shocked as they could be by something that keeps happening over and over. Montana’s congressional delegation was shocked, too. In a statement to the Billings Gazette, Sen. Jon Tester declared that “our schools should be safe places for our kids, not tragic halls of violence” and warned of “a mental health crisis in this country.” His call to not convert the nation’s schoolhouses to temples of ritual violence will probably cost him some votes in November, but a man must speak his conscience.
Likewise Rep. Greg Gianforte. Except for when he physically attacked a reporter last spring, the congressman has consistently opposed violence, and last week was no different. In his own statement to the Gazette, Gianforte wrote that “officials at every level of government must work together to ensure troubled individuals can be addressed before their behavior can escalate into such a coarse, unthinkable tragedy.” One must conclude that, as we speak, Gianforte is developing a long-overdue system to round up mentally ill people before they commit crimes.
I applaud Tester and Gianforte for having the courage to warn America against the criminally insane, but one element was conspicuously missing from their statements: gun control. Only Republican Sen. Steve Daines was brave enough to mention it — to explicitly rule it out. After predicting that we would soon learn more about the man who committed the shooting, Daines wrote:
“…we must remember that any individual who is intent on harming others will do so regardless of what laws we have in place. I believe it is critical we discuss how we prevent these events from happening. However, I cannot support controversial firearm restriction proposals that would undermine our Second Amendment rights and that many experts believe would be ineffective in preventing violent crimes.”
“I applaud Tester and Gianforte for having the courage to warn America against the criminally insane...”
The senator’s terrifying nihilism is correct: No law can protect society from harm. The “controversial firearm restriction proposals” that every other developed nation has implemented wouldn’t do a thing to prevent mass shootings here in the only country where they keep happening. We know gun control doesn’t work; that’s why we’ve never tried it. The only thing left is to take a common-sense approach to preventing violence, by equipping every man, woman and child in the United States with mechanical exoskeletons made of laser-guided saws.
These suits — which would be sent directly to citizens’ homes using census data and distributed in public places on a first-come, first-severed basis — would allow even the youngest American to launch a razor-sharp whirling blade with lethal accuracy faster than a person can fire a gun. Once every teacher and school child is wearing a saw suit, would-be shooters who assault our schools will be disintegrated before they can pull the trigger, vanishing in a cloud of viscera and whirling steel that protects our children from the harmful effects of violence.
Obviously, this idea is only in the planning stage. Certain logistical problems would need to be ironed out. For example, the saw suits’ targeting systems would have to be visually guided, so that every American, no matter how old or infirm, can save lives by instantly killing with only eye movements. And though the suits would need to be sturdy — to support the weight of the saws, their launchers, targeting computers, et cetera — they must not be bulletproof, so that police can still shoot the people wearing them if somehow that becomes necessary to preserve public safety.
Anyway, we can end mass killings in America, and manufacturing 300 million laser-guided saw suits is step one. Step two is to make sure no saw suit falls into the possession of people who are mentally ill. Even one recently divorced security guard with seasonal depression could use his saw suit to kill thousands of people, so our mental health screening and treatment systems will need to be 100 percent effective. That goes double for elementary schools, since children are prone to impulsive behavior, especially once you give them saw launchers.
Ultimately, however, these death-related concerns are trivial compared to the main goal of protecting our Second Amendment rights. Montana’s congressional delegation has done a fine job so far. Almost every American can buy as many rifles and handguns as he wants, so the dream of the founders is complete. Our democracy is pretty much perfect, with only the inconvenience of children being murdered 10 or 20 at a time to blemish the idyll. But once we build and distribute the saw suits, everything will be fine, and the problem of regularly occurring, horrifying gun violence will be solved. It won’t be easy, especially during the first few weeks when we’re still calibrating the launchers. But it must be done, because nobody can think of any other way.
Dan Brooks is on Twitter at @DangerBrooks.