“Arm the teachers!”
“Hire armed guards!”
Are we talking about schools or prisons here? Because, in all honesty, it sounds like the first instinct to combat school murders is to turn those same schools into fortresses.
I had the good fortune to grow up in a different time–when it was inconceivable that someone might come into our school and literally blow us away. Unfortunately, those were the good old days. Children today live with the fear–no, make that HORROR–that such a thing can happen. And it does. Again and again. It’s unconscionable that we allow these shootings to continue in America. What will it take? Does 51% of America have to lose a son or daughter before enough votes are cast to force a change?
Like all complex problems, this one will take a complex solution. And some of the suggestions so far are rather simplistic, not to mention ineffective. Let’s look at them.
1–Full background checks and longer waiting periods. This will be an important and needed first step, but it isn’t enough. (It wouldn’t have prevented the Las Vegas shooting.)
2–Raising the legal age requirement for purchasing automatic rifles. Another important step, though there are already millions of these weapons floating around. It might not prevent a determined shooter from simply taking their parents’ weapons.
3–Better mental health assessments, and flagging those with issues. Won’t stop the idiots who carefully avoid the appearance of their craziness, or those who slip under the radar in other ways, but another important step.
4–Better reporting of aggressive and threatening language on social media. A slippery slope, if you ask me, for there have even been times I’ve been known to lose my cool on social media. But on the other hand, I haven’t directly threatened to shoot up a school, which actually happened with the Florida case. All in all, probably needed as well.
5–An improved approach to bullying. Though not always the case, too many of these shooters were victims of bullying. Did we have bullying in our day? Hell, yes, we did. But we (fortunately) didn’t have the idea to shoot kids in retribution. Or, if we did we didn’t act on it.
6–Arm the teachers. There might be some instances it would prove effective, if the teacher is in the right place at the right time, has their weapon locked and loaded, and is mentally and physically prepared to shoot a student. Think about that for a second. I’m sure there are thousands of educators who will balk at this idea.
7–Locked entrances. This is already a solution in many schools. But schools will never be foolproof. And persons intent on causing harm will simply wait for the opportune time. Students cannot be on lock down 100% of the time.
8–Armed guards. Expensive, but probably inevitable. It’s hard to argue that it wouldn’t help in two ways: make schools more safe, and make students feel more safe.
9–Mandatory backpack checks. Absolutely needed 100% of the time. There’s an old saying, “People don’t care what you expect, they care what you inspect.”
10–Ban or curtail violence in video games and movies. First of all, trying to band commerce of any type is next to impossible. And make no mistake, there’s huge money in both video games and violent movies. Second, there’s little proof that watching a violent video game or movie actually causes one to be more violent. It’s a bit like saying if you ban pornography people won’t want to have sex.
Most of these ideas have merit, and in some combination would likely be effective. There are many other good ideas floating around as well.
What would not work?
1–Banning assault rifles. Banning things never works. It only makes people want them more. Besides, there’s a gazillion guns in America, most of them owned and used lawfully. More would pour over our borders if a ban were enacted. We’re stuck with them.
2–Removing or altering the 2nd amendment to the Constitution. I cannot imagine how many people would have to die before the 2nd amendment would get serious reconsideration. And in my opinion it shouldn’t. It certainly won’t happen in my lifetime, if ever.
So. There you have it. Some things I honestly believe would help, and some that won’t. Where we go from here is anyone’s guess, but go somewhere we must. For the children.
Do you agree? Or do you have a better idea? I’m listening. (And if you want to see your comments posted to this site, kindly identify yourself. Thanks.)
© Wade Kingston