What is the Answer to School Shootings?

“Arm the teachers!”

“Hire armed guards!”

“Backpack checks!”

“Locked entries!”

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

 

 

8 Comments

  1. Maybe a combination of suggestions would help minimize the problem. Unfortunately we need to change the gun culture in this country, nurtured by the NRA and selfish conservatives. Perhaps the next generation–the ones getting killed–can start turning things around especially in the voting booths and more proselyting in schools and elsewhere.

    • Wade Kingston

      I’ll take minimizing the problem over nothing. I do think the culture is changing. Something feels different. Perhaps America is just fed up with the carnage, and not just in schools. The horror shows in Las Vegas and Orlando are still fresh in my mind.

  2. Tom

    It all has to start at home with the parents raising children with morals and respect. Guns are not the problem, punish the children for bad behavior and punish the criminals to the fullest extent. We have too many laws now and not enough enforcement. Everyone should be armed and the know how to use it safely. Outlawing GUNS would be just as effective as outlawing DOPE, you see how well that worked?

    • Wade Kingston

      Tom, you make good points. In the Florida case it seems we are also dealing with a disturbed young man. In retrospect, it now appears there were multiple warnings that he was a danger. I’m not sure parenting is effective when the child’s mind is not receptive. And when you say “punish the criminals to the full extent,” you are assuming they’ve broken the laws and have been caught. I agree with you that criminals should be punished, but I think we should concentrate on preventing them in the first place.

      • Tom

        How else would you prevent people from becoming criminals, all the laws in the world cannot and will not prevent evil criminals, the one solution to preventing evil criminals is to punish them, even if that means bringing back hanging, the electric chair, firing squad or even chain gangs of hard labor?

        • Wade Kingston

          That’s the million dollar question, and millions think the same way you do. I agree society has to do what it can to discourage heinous crimes, but I don’t think the mentally ill care to what degree we punish criminals. There have also been countless studies that show capital punishment is not an effective deterrent. This is just one of those: https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/study-88-criminologists-do-not-believe-death-penalty-effective-deterrent. The reasons it isn’t effective are many, but here are just two: One, some murderers–like those in gangs or terrorists–live outside the law and don’t see themselves as part of society. (They just don’t care or they have an agenda.) Two, many murders are committed in the “heat of the moment,” as in domestic violence situations, road rage, or while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Those people aren’t thinking straight at all, much less about what might happen to them if caught. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have strong laws. We should. But I do wonder how effective they are against the criminally insane or those who just don’t care to be law-abiding.

  3. Joana

    I grew up with a lot of bullies in my life too, bullies at home, bullies at school, and bullies at work.. and after a while I noticed something about them. Bullies are really just weaklings trying to hide their own weaknesses by aggression. Bullies don”t understand their own emotions and so they bully because they are weak and feel threatened by anyone who seem to have it together and they want to bring anyone who seem stronger than them down to their level. Be proud you”re not weak like they are, it takes a lot of strength and courage to be kind and this world is so full of ignorant weaklings. If you can and as long as they don”t touch you, ignore and avoid them like the pests they are because their words have no meaning, they don”t know you, they just want to hurt you. Concentrate on improving yourself and don”t waste your attentions on them because that”s what they want. Bullies want attention and they want your reactions, once you stop giving that to them, they lose interest. I stopped wasting my attention and energy on negative people like bullies, they are energy vampires and they will exhaust you if you let them get to you. When you know your priorities, you can stop giving a sh*t and mentally block anyone who isn”t your friend off and anything they say is as good as your neighbor”s barking dog. Prioritize yourself and everything else is irrelevant.

    • Wade Kingston

      I couldn’t have said it better, Joana. I think that advice applies not only to bullies, but to anyone who tries to belittle or denigrate a person regardless of the reason.

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