Dear Editor:

I prefer Ms. Bonnie Runyan’s suggestion that we employ genetic testing for screening applicants for military weapons over the NRA’s suggestion that we have an armed officer in every school. There are far too many targets of opportunity for an assassin besides schools: theaters, churches, school buses, shopping malls, sporting events. Skilled assassins will have little trouble dispatching a single security officer. At Columbine, a sheriff’s deputy was present during the massacre and missed four times. Security officers normally operate in pairs. Securing a site against even a low level threat is an expensive proposition. The NRA battle cry is, “arm the teachers.” How will the teachers secure their weapons? Loaded weapons and kids are a proven recipe for disaster.

I am a gun nut, so I know the current background checks are a farce.

I used to be in the nuclear weapons business which meant that I had a “Q” clearance for top secret weapons information. To obtain a Q clearance, one had to pass a rigorous background check by the FBI. During my employment in the weapons business, one of my jobs was to determine which materials were suitable for some of our devices. We used a mathematical technique known as multi-variable regression analysis. (A brilliant lady Ph.D. mathematician was the brains, not me.)

The same procedure should be used for screening applicants for military weapons. As part of a background check for military weapons, every young male should submit saliva and blood samples for genetic and narcotics testing which are then checked against the FBI data base for felons. Finding genetic markers for social behavior is tricky and genetics is not destiny. The applicant should be interviewed by a skilled interrogator while the applicant is hooked up to a lie detector. A procedure used for scientists employed in the nuclear weapon business. The applicant should be required to furnish three character references. Should the applicant show a high risk on all three characteristics, he should be further interviewed by a professional psychologist. If he were deemed unstable, he should be denied a permit for military weapons. Society has every right to protect itself. At a recent NRA press conference, Mr. Lapierre stated that much of our trouble is due to monsters caused by the media. Logically, but no doubt erroneously, it would seem that the NRA would support more stringent background checks.

Like the guards in school idea, the stringent background check idea is also flawed. There is no need for an assassin to submit to it. All he has to do is pick up a weapon from a closet as Adam Lanza did in the Sandy Hook massacre.

Bob Dungan


This story was posted on January 3, 2013.