A modest proposal
Tuesday May 24th 2022, 9:21 pm
Filed under: History

Years ago, when our kids were young, we attended a talk by a neuropsychologist whose career was in brain rehab; his five kids were early elementary to late high school age, roughly ten years older than ours.

He described the growth of the myelin sheath around the nerves in the brain, and how that sheath played an essential part in its maturation process: it was the means by which kids became able, as they reached adulthood, to be able to intuit that if they do A towards B then C will happen as a result further out.

Lacking that, kids live in the moment and react to what’s around them.

He added, half-joking but also dead serious, and this is the direct quote we both remember, “So if your kids act brain damaged it’s because they are.”

One of us asked, So at what age…?

He answered, For girls, generally around 18, for boys, more often 21, some even 22 before they’re fully myelinated.

“Not fully myelinated” became our behind-the-scenes parental phrase to each other out of our kids’ earshot when we wanted to roll our eyes at some dumb thing or other.

All of this came rushing back as the news of Sandyhook 2.0 washed in today. Our hearts are crushed for the good people of Uvalde, Texas.

The shooter had waited for his 18th birthday to be able to buy his weaponry and then got right to it that day, according to one early report.

He was too young physically to have been able to grasp intuitively the enormity of what he was about to do. He certainly knew it was wrong and there’s absolutely no excusing his murderous rampage in any way whatsoever.

But maybe we can learn something from this: what if. Just what if we raise the age in every state whereby a kid can legally have  access to or ownership of a gun to when they’re able to begin to intuit what would happen if they succumb to the temptations of the illusions of power it conveys? To really get it? Case in point: in his diary, one of the Columbine high school shooters thought he was going to go to the prom after all this was over.

What if the kids had to be old enough to have a chance at being fully myelinated first?

So that other kids could grow up to be so, too.

Edited to add: turns out Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who by quite a few reports has serious dementia issues for which many of us think she should step down and let Gavin Newsome appoint her replacement (Adam Schiff! Katie Porter!) actually has it together on this issue: she has an Age 21 bill that would require states to raise their minimum age for gun buying to 21 if they haven’t already. Good for her!

6 Comments so far
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Amen to that! But I have to go a step further…to banning assault weapons.

Comment by Jayleen Hatmaker 05.25.22 @ 6:53 am

What you do with an assault weapon is right there in the name.
Why does anyone need the means to assault!
There is no weapon named “teach you a lesson” or “stop bullying me” or “I don’t like you, leave me alone”.
Absolutely ban the darn things. Although it might be easier to control the ammunition.

Comment by Chris+S+in+Canada 05.25.22 @ 7:06 am

Exactly. And controlling ammunition could be a start, although I suspect there are stockpiles. Comedian Chris Rock had a point some years ago as he riffed on pricing bullets at $5000 each.

Comment by DebbieR 05.25.22 @ 8:29 am

The US needs stricter gun control. Ban assault rifles, require everyone owning a gun of any kind to be licensed, pay yearly fees, be fully assessed by a mental health professional as well as a doctor–so much more could be done. There are countries that have more responsible gun laws/owners (Israel is one) but it’s time that the rules properly reflect the repercussions of the weapon’s use.

Comment by Joanne 05.25.22 @ 12:52 pm

Amen to what you said and all the above comments. I think high pricing the ammo would slow down a lot of things. I remember some skit where two black men are talking to a (white) NRA guy about agreeing with the NRA about the right to bear arms and getting out their rifles and the white guy suddenly ‘backs down’ everything he said. Yeh, not about the right to bear arms for everyone and many of those bearing arms aren’t even ‘in their right minds’. Sigh. No one needs these guns, or even just ‘guns’. And yes, people can still find a way to hurt and kill each other without guns, but usually they have to get within touching distance and can only hurt one person at a time. Grrrrrr.

Comment by Helen Mathey-Horn 05.25.22 @ 1:49 pm

Yes, I truly believe, my sweet friend, that this horrible decision by this hurting 18 year old, was based on being really young, and with too easy access to weapons.

In the state of Texas, Federal law says that you must be 21 before you can buy arms from a primary gun source. However, state law says that you can buy a gun from the secondary market, aka, resale, from the day you turn 18.

This info is available on the NRA website.

I wish that people will vote to put gun laws in place that make it impossible for people to buy guns, without, say, looking for as much control as would be needed to buy, register and drive a car.

Comment by Constance Harker 05.25.22 @ 5:53 pm

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