Effective Action Needed to Stop School Shootings
Another mass shooting at a Parkland, FL, school leaves 17 dead and many injured. A 19-year-old male — a former student of the school with a penchant for trouble, according to comments from people who knew him, and photos of guns and bombs on his cell phone — has confessed to the massacre.
The reactions to this horror are predictable; we’ve seen them before. Rage, disgust, and sadness, of course, but other things, as well.
The media, Democrat politicians and other leftists are all too eager to regurgitate their automatic call for gun control. And this time there is a new, but still predictable, reaction: The Left blames this crime on … wait for it … President Donald Trump. After all, what perceived negative thing that has occurred since Jan. 20, 2017, isn’t Trump’s fault in the minds of these folks?
But, returning to reality, this is not a time for knee-jerks and band-wagoneers. These auto-reactions have not provided solutions before and won’t this time, either. We need better ideas; ideas that will work.
Some factors to consider:
This school is a “gun-free” zone. Under both federal and Florida state law, no parent, teacher, or faculty member could have legally returned fire at this attacker. There was an official school security officer present, but he was not armed and could only help out by getting between the gunman and his intended targets. He paid the ultimate price for his bravery.
Authorities, including the FBI, blew this one, not responding to ample warnings about the shooter.
The anti-gun organization Everytown for Gun Safety in pushing its narrative falsified the number of school shootings in 2018, saying Parkland was the 18th. One of them was in a school parking lot in the middle of the night, and another involved a suicide in the parking lot of a school that closed months before. It does not lessen the severity of this problem to accurately report the number of times it has actually occurred. Just five — still too many — of Everytown’s 18 counted school shootings happened during school hours and resulted in any physical injury. The Washington Post, to its credit, published the accurate information.
Guns do not kill anyone by themselves; they require human intervention. People could live in rooms filled with guns and ammo and no one would be injured or die except for an accident unless a person had an impulse to hurt or kill someone.
Persons who willingly kill innocent people either have a mental problem or a morality problem. In a country inhabited by 320 million or so people, if only 1 percent of them have serious mental problems, that means 3,200,000 people walk the streets of our towns and cities and inhabit rural areas, some waiting on an impulse that will unleash their violence.
Some of the things people suggest as helpful elements have strong positives. “If you see something, say something” sounds like a good practice. And it is, if it is used conscientiously to alert authorities to potentially dangerous individuals. But this can be misused and cause people who do not deserve it to have this on their record for a long time.
Addressing mental illness, which often is cited as a factor in mass killings, and drug addiction ought to be high on the list of actions to be taken.
Schools can install entrance controls operated by school personnel that allow entry only after satisfactory identification has been provided. They can put armed professionals on school campuses or train and allow school personnel to carry weapons on the job.
The AR-15 is a weapon commonly used in mass shootings, and the 19-year-old Parkland shooter legally acquired one, despite his troubled record of behavior. The Second Amendment is not absolute; some restrictions can be made to keep these weapons out of the hands of people with a criminal past, mental illness or other serious problems.
Much of society’s problems would not have developed, or would be far less frequent and less problematic, had Americans had the good sense to maintain the traditional, positive culture of the 1950s and before, when such violence was virtually unheard of. The collapse of the nuclear family with a mature and responsible father and mother in the home monitoring what their children do and training them in good living practices, morality, and personal responsibility may be the most significant factor.
You don’t have to be a devoted Jew or Christian to recognize that the Ten Commandments generally provide a good road map for living a good life and that the lifestyle suggested in the Bible and other religious texts are good guides for a stable society.
We can take steps to begin restoring the traditional American concepts lost over the last half-century, and we should. Among things we should do are: Identify and treat mentally ill and other troubled people; insist on individual responsibility; stop enabling people who are capable of supporting themselves to live off the government; encourage two-parent families; encourage striving for excellence by rewarding it, rather than rewarding mere participation; don’t allow foolish behavior just to protect someone’s feelings. Start being America again.