They cremated Thomas Hamilton's body at a secret time and venue this week with just the very close relatives of the man responsible for Britain's worst crime in living memory present. The police told no one, for the massive and very understandable backlash against the Dunblane massacre is still gathering pace. Their only comment afterwards was that the ceremony was a long, long way from the central Scottish region. The reporters have gone from the town now at the request of the grieving relatives and police, replaced by just one man and a photographer from the British national news agency, the Press Association. The politicians, the royals have visited. It won't be long before the bulldozers move in to knock down the primary school gymnasium where 18 died. Now the talk is of what Britain can do now to stop itself turning into an even more violent society. Through Dunblane many people thought they looked into the future - and it horrified them. MPs who would normally have shied away from any concept of censorship are calling for films like Natural Born Killers to be banned outright. They admit they have never even seen the movie; that makes no difference. There are calls for the gun club in a basement under the House of Lords to be scrapped as an example to the nation and turned, of all things, into a creche. There are calls for all-party talks on gun law reform. Everyone wants a piece of the action, everyone wants to talk in the hushed tones seen by John Major and Tony Blair that 'something must be done'. The Government will be extremely hard-put to resist calls for changes in the law on the possession of hand guns, especially as the country once again held its breath on Monday when a young and educationally sub-normal schoolboy went on the run in the Home Counties with a small armoury stolen from a gun enthusiast's locked cabinet at home. That incident alone led to schools being closed in Buckinghamshire with plain-clothed and armed officers patrolling others. This country is becoming seriously jittery. Teenagers had regularly visited the home where the guns were stored and there are suspicions that they may have seen the collection when its owner placed them out on his bed to clean them. Yet more suspicions were voiced about the nature of gun enthusiasts. Lord Cullen's inquiry into the massacre is expected to take three months and its findings will be taken with those of a Home Office inquiry into firearms law to form the basis of measures to be included in a criminal justice bill by the autumn. The trouble is that any knee-jerk response, and that is what the public is perceptibly demanding, quite often gets it wrong. The Government made just such a mistake a few years ago when it created the Dangerous Dogs Act in response to a coincidental series of attacks on young children by beasts like pit bull terriers. The Act led to a dreadful mis-definition of what constituted a dangerous breed leading to the ridiculous sight of dogs locked away for years while the lawyers argued, some destroyed when they just happened to resemble, rather than actually be, a member of that breed. There is a long history of this kind of law-making. In 1956 we had the Horror Comics regulation, a reaction in its time to the perceived terrors of Batman, Spiderman and the rest. Sounds somewhat excessive now, doesn't it? In 1990 we had the Food Preparation Act, another piece of paper rushed through as the result of a scare, and now a plan that television sets be fitted with the so-called V chip - V for violence - which would enable parents to programme their televisions to stop their susceptible youngsters being able to watch such scenes. The public is perhaps rightly saying 'enough' now after years in which the portrayal of violence on our screens has snowballed. In doing this the UK is emulating the US where last month Congress passed legislation enforcing all television manufacturers to install the chips in new sets. They are quick and cheap to place at around HK$6 a piece. The chip recognises an electronic call-sign attached to programmes with high levels of violence or explicit sex and then parents can, if they wish, activate the chip to scramble the transmission. This, of course, avoids the question of why generally more technically literate children cannot deactivate the chip as a challenge or go to their friends' homes, drawn by the new attraction of getting around the sanctions. I do not say this glibly; there is plenty of evidence of children being able to re-programme satellite transmission scramblers. But that of course is again an immediate reaction. The estimates are that it would take at least 20 years (the average life of a generation of television sets) to have any effect - especially when experience shows that it is the oldest sets in a household which generally find their ways into a child's bedroom. There is also the issue that those in most need of protection, the children of parents who just could not care, are not likely to receive it. So we are stuck with the latest ism - 'something-must-be-doneism'. This is not to condemn all knee-jerk legislation. There is something ethically better in acting powerfully in response to a disaster than much of the vacuous legislation which often seems to have its origins in the whims of bureaucrats today. We should not be blind to the fact that immediate action is also therapeutic action in its own right. 'Problem solved,' we say. It allows us to believe we can sleep in our beds securely at night, or our children to attend school safely once more.