The practice of engineering is, in part, “economic solutions to scientific problems.” Engineers are problem solvers. An engineer working to solve a problem will work hardest at understanding the root cause of the problem.
Agonizing over the symptoms is non-productive. What happened on day one, at the first second, at what place with whom and what? Questions like these help get to the root cause.
So, what has this to do with gun violence? Maybe nothing, but since gun violence is such a big problem maybe we should all be trying to solve it. Here’s my take on the root cause and my ideas on a potential solution.
Up front, here and now, it’s my opinion that inadequate education is the basic root cause of the problem. To me it’s very simple: I have an adequate education; I would never consider using gun violence. I don’t behave for fear of going to jail or hell. Being adequately educated, I’m never desperate for my daily wants.
I’m not bored when there’s no football game to watch. I fully understand that I’m very lucky to have had good parents and I was born in the United States, so I’m not necessarily better than you or an illegal alien from Mexico — just luckier. Possible luck is our only root difference.
So how about some proof? I just finished a book (yes, education makes book reading possible and entertaining) about several countries. The most interesting information regarding the subject of this story came from the country of Finland. In 2013 with a population of 5.5 million, the entire police force of the entire country fired six bullets and killed no one. In 2018 the police fired their weapons only 10 times.
Notables of Finland and USA:
1. Finland’s education index is 0.993; fourth best educated in the world. (Another top 20 survey: Finland No. 1/score 114, USA No. 20/score 47)
2. Fourth most guns per person in the world (slightly less than U.S.).
3. Murder rate 1.14 per 100,000 per year. Houston is 15-plus.
4. Population 5.5 million, Houston is 2 million.
The big deal is not guns (surprise) but education. Educated Fins, with the same number of guns per person as us, don’t kill each other like we do. So, if we can agree on a root cause (our inadequate education compared to non-violent Finland), how about a solution?
By education I don’t mean college for everyone. College is certainly not the only way. What we need is a new mind set. Better to spend money on education at all levels than on prisons.
What can we do? Support higher-quality education for all ages and make all of it affordable to everyone. Volunteer our retirement time to mentor and or teach in local schools. We may be a better source of what the students need than the school can afford to hire. I do it at 79 years young; do it, you’ll love it.