Another mass shooting, this time at a high school in Parkland, FL. This is getting to be all too commonplace. This was the third mass shooting in the last four months. Each of these incidents was horrific, but, to me, the ones in which kids were the victims – Columbine, Sandy Hook and this one – are the worst. Some of the kids were as young as 14. 14! So sad to have young lives snuffed out before they have really begun. May they all rest in peace.
Parents send their kids to school every day with two expectations: (1) they will learn something useful, and (2) they will return home safely. I cannot think of anything more devastating to a parent than when they get “that phone call.”
As the shock begins to fade away, people want to know how and why this happened. In what kind of a society do we live where this happens time and time again? Who or what is to blame? Is it the proliferation and easy availability of guns, inadequate school security, lax parental supervision and guidance, the violent movies and video games, music in which violence is espoused and lauded, weak law enforcement, political correctness run amok, the internet, or a hideous combination of some or all of the above? Everyone has a theory, but no one really knows.
One thing you can count on – the politicians will try to use this to further their own agendas. Gun control advocates will scream for restrictions on guns. ( Were it only that easy.) They will advocate confiscating all the guns held in private hands, like they did in Australia years ago, or, at the very least placing severe restrictions on their purchase and ownership. That is a naïve and overly simplistic solution and will NEVER happen, for the following reasons:
- The gun lobby is too strong, and many, if not most, Americans really cherish the second amendment and won’t give an inch.
- Congress is too fractured to reach a consensus on ANYTHING, much less an issue as controversial as that. Time and time again, the leadership of both political parties has demonstrated an embarrassing inability to control its fringe elements and forge a consensus. Look at the problems they had passing a budget. Also, they have been unable to pass an immigration policy even though the elements that have been proposed are favored by some two-thirds of voters.
- No one has been able to explain how Chicago, with arguably the strictest gun laws in the country is, paradoxically, one of the most violent cities. In my opinion, a large part of that is that criminals will always find a way to obtain guns, so gun control only affects the law-abiding would-be gun owners.
I would agree that we need to do a better job of monitoring and restricting the purchase of guns, but other than that, the solution, if there is one, lies elsewhere.
I don’t have a magic answer. People a lot smarter than me have been trying to find one with little success. But, like everyone else, I have an opinion. You may disagree, but I welcome your input.
- We need to have a rational, objective discussion of the causes and possible solutions. No bloviating, rhetoric, or political agendas.
- Guns are part of the problem, but not the entire problem. Those who say they are, are guilty of violating #1 above.
- Parents need to take more responsibility for raising their own kids and instilling a strong sense of right and wrong. In what universe can some kid think it is okay to take a life?
- Schools need to do a better job of security, and identifying victims of bullying who might be harboring a grudge as well as “loners” and other disaffected students.
- Law enforcement needs to be more proactive. For example, in the Parkland situation we have now ascertained that the FBI received a complaint about Cruz on its tip line last month and failed to follow up. Why? No one knows or is willing to say.
- Ease up on the political correctness. Don’t be afraid to report someone who may be an African American, Hispanic or Muslim. If you do so in good faith, no one in his right mind should criticize you if it turns out to be a false alarm. On the other hand if you don’t and he turns out to be a shooter (e.g. San Bernardino), you will never forgive yourself.
It pains me to have to blog about these tragedies. Let’s hope I never have to do so again.