The answer to gun violence might just be a smartphone on a chip

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We will need to decide in policy, technology and the prudent choices we make whether we are going to begin and at least take the baby steps forward or resign to accept things as they are. There is really no other choice on the table. We need focus, commitment, new ideas and new ways to approach the problems of violence and guns. Without this there is no technology we can introduce, or policy we could put into place, or cultural change that will end the potential for further tragedy.

We can show that a technical solution is feasible and that it would foster more effective capabilities for law enforcement and ultimately a society a bit safer from guns. We know what is at stake. In the end it is for each of us to determine how much more gun enabled violence we can tolerate and for people, policy makers and professional law enforcement to whom this matters as a life and death issue to call for change. This will not be easy to do.

For law enforcement and others in public safety this discussion is not academic. As long as there are conventional weapons out there the assumption has always got to be made that along with every 'really smart gun' on the grid that we could manage, there is another conventional one that we cannot, and they will encounter on the street. That may be the reality forever. When I speak of transformative technologies for the police as of now that is at best a statement of direction. It is also a hope that as they put their lives on the line we can offer some contribution through technology or other that will help make their jobs safer as they protect us.

One quote from a friend in law enforcement captured it all:

"This is really good stuff. Well thought out and truly the wave of the future. I am glad I won't be around when this is fully implemented someday, because with my luck the technology will fail me at the moment of truth, when my gun fails to fire, and I need it to save my life or protect my loved ones."

There is technology that we can use. The realization that change will come is there. Fear of change and moving forward is also there as is distrust in the reliability of technology. We lean on and protect what we know. Politicians lean on policy, technical people technology, and those in law enforcement and others concerned with self protection, their guns. It is the perceptions of those to whom this does matter, prudent thinking and the concerns of an anxious society that will determine what we will do. It will have to be technology, along with culture and policy that will shape the answer in the end. We do need an answer.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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