• 61°

Why not make rocks harder to find?

To the editor:

While I agree with the concluding sentence of the Oct. 5, 2017, editorial, “When the urge strikes, any old rock will do,” I hope that thought does not deter serious consideration of thoughtful responses in the area of gun control.

After the events cited in the United States, measures were taken to make it harder for someone to act on their urges to kill innocent people as well as to give more protections to all of us.

As a result of the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995, the U.S. Congress passed the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, which tightened the standards for habeas corpus in the United States, as well as legislation designed to increase the protection around federal buildings to deter future terrorist attacks.

The Boston Marathon organizers banned runners from bringing bags and imposed other measures to tighten security for future races after a twin bomb attack near the finish line in April 2013 killed three people and wounded 264.

And then after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, many changes were enacted. Congress federalized airport security by passing the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, which created the Transportation Security Administration. Prior to 9/11, security had been handled by each airport, which outsourced to private security companies.

The new TSA implemented procedures that included stricter guidelines on passenger and luggage screening. Only ticketed passengers could go through security, and an ever-changing array of machinery and procedures were introduced to scan for weapons and destructive items. As new threats were discovered after 9/11, new procedures were introduced, including removing shoes and banning liquids.

Airplanes themselves also underwent major overhauls: Fortified cockpit doors were introduced, and first-class cabin curtains were dropped by some airlines. Pilots can now apply to become federal flight deck officers, allowing them to carry loaded guns and act as federal officers aboard the plane.

While there will always be people who will pick up a rock, I also believe we have a responsibility to enact changes to make sure rocks aren’t so easy to find. We’ve done that in the past.

T. Floyd Irby Jr.

Suffolk