Maine’s and the Nation’s Struggle for Sanity

Ian Mitroff
3 min readDec 1, 2023

I’m publishing this series of articles to share and discuss my ruminations on coping with a troubled and messy world. You can “follow” me to never miss an article.

In the aftermath of the Mass Shootings in Maine, the State faces intense scrutiny over its archaic Gun Laws[i]. For instance, Maine allows adults to carry concealed weapons without permits. Indeed, attempts to enact Laws requiring background checks and waiting periods have thereby failed.

Even though some Mainers recognize that Mass Shootings with pistols are virtually impossible, the prospects for new restrictions on Assault Rifles, if not Guns in general, are at best problematic. It’s in spite of the fact that some do agree that getting Military Style Weapons off the streets is a necessity. Sadly, just one prominent Legislator, Jared Golden, has had a major change of heart over Gun regulations. He thereby reversed his longstanding opposition to a ban on assault weapons.

The sad fact of the matter is that Maine is a “Gun Culture”. Gun Rights, the use of Guns, and Self-Defense are deeply embedded in Maine’s Laws and general culture.

The concluding passages of the article are heartbreaking:

“Bobby Dombroski, 39, who lives in Waterville, favors stronger gun control measures. But he knows how dug in people are on gun issues, and he knows how little has changed since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012.

“If kids dying didn’t do it, he said, “I don’t know what will.”

In what couldn’t be more different, in May, Florida passed a Law requiring Public School Districts to impose rules that barred students from using Cell-Phones during class time[ii]. While Parents and Teachers generally supported the ban, Parents still worried about what would happen if they and their children needed to contact one another. Still, there was rare agreement by Adults across the Political Spectrum that texting, and the use of Social Media, by Kids was interfering with their learning.

While some students liked the ban if only for it cut down on Bullying, others found that it was regressive and that “school seemed more prison-like”.

The point is that while all Kids did not necessarily like the ban, virtually all agreed that it improved learning. Indeed, “Some students said that the ban had made interacting with their classmates more authentic”.

Above all, the ban highlights the role of Adults. Where Adults acted responsibly in the greater interest of Kids, and even though some 64 percent of Americans support tougher Gun Laws, Adults still do not play as prominent a role when it comes to Guns.

[i] Amelia Nirenberg and Jenna Russell, “Still Mourning, Maine Wrestles With Firearms,” The New York Times, Wednesday, November 1, 2023, P A14.

[ii] Natasha Singer, “A Florida District Bans Phones, Students Agonize but Perk Up, “ The New York Times, Wednesday, November 1, 2023, PP A1 and A11.

Ian I. Mitroff is credited as being one of the principal founders of the modern field of Crisis Management. He has a BS, MS, and a PhD in Engineering and the Philosophy of Social Systems Science from UC Berkeley. He Is Professor Emeritus from the Marshall School of Business and the Annenberg School of Communication at USC. Currently, he is a Senior Research Affiliate in the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management, UC Berkeley. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Management. He has published 41 books. His latest is: The Socially Responsible Organization: Lessons from Covid, Springer, New York, 2022.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash