This week has sparked some very understandable debate about two very important issues, and there are high emotions on both sides. I am wary of tantrums and a huge fan of brass tacks, so let’s get down to some.

Not forcing other people to pay for something doesn’t make it illegal. Several Democrat leaders and the ACLU have fairly lost their minds at the idea that Trump’s administration will end the birth control mandate, as though that means it will end birth control.

Birth control will continue to be legal, and it’s also quite likely that your Catholic health plan will pay for it, just like mine did ten years ago. If you have a medical diagnosis requiring a hormonal contraceptive for treatment, the plan, with rare exception, will pay for it. Take a deep breath, then have a look through your plan packet or website.

If you merely want to prevent pregnancy, there are a number of methods of varying costs that even I can afford without any health plan. They are not illegal or inaccessible. I was even given a handful of free condoms at an Episcopalian church once.  Googling free or low cost birth control (and filtering out editorials) will yield results in your area.

I also have an excellent plan for getting rid of guns forever: uninvent them. More realistically, we need to invent a method of self defense that even Nancy Sinatra would feel okay keeping in her purse.

We know current stun guns and pepper spray are frequently rubbish because they require close contact, which criminals know. They are generally not intimidated when we whip these things out of our handbags and backpacks. Heck, even a gun is hard to fire at close contact if a rapist or other assailant gets within our defensible space. So we need (yes, I am a nerd) phasers (or something like). We need non lethal beam weaponry, and we need it yesterday.

Phasers won’t uninvent guns. They won’t uninvent bombs or terrorism or sadists, either. They also won’t be able to prevent every type of violence every time, just as swords didn’t and guns haven’t. But once phasers become a lower cost, nonlethal alternative to guns, there will be more of them, more people will be carrying them, and guns will become less attractive as a self defense tool and a method of hunting. Why pick shot out of a deer when you can stun it?

Concern about the excessive militarization of police might also be abated by the invention of reliable, inexpensive, non-lethal distance weaponry. Law enforcement and even battle would be significantly transformed by a revolution in self defense mechanisms. Star Trek predicted touch screens and tablets; why not how we defend ourselves from those who wish harm upon us?

Even criminals will probably want phasers, in which case we will be writing fevered editorials about mass stunnings. Frankly, I’m much more comfortable with bumps and scrapes from being stunned than the bullet frags that have to be removed from my friend’s daughter after the assault in Vegas, to say nothing of all those dead.

Our emotions are built into our brains, and we must still need them since we haven’t evolved out of them yet. But we also have fore brains, and we must use them to solve problems. I am uninterested in forcing people to do things they don’t feel right doing, and I am loathe to ask people to go undefended into this world where projectile weaponry exists for criminals to use no matter what the law. We can solve these problems — not with freaking out and screaming at each other, but innovation.