It’s Complicated But We Can Start To Better Protect Our Students
Another horrific school shooting, this time in Texas, has people everywhere asking what can be done to make the killings stop.
It's complicated, but we need to talk about it.
Too Easy To Just Blame The Gun
The President and others quickly blamed the gun. They say things like, "If only we cared more about our kids than we do about our guns." It's emotional and it's an effective rallying cry for anti-second amendment types. But it's not the point and it's not true.
Gun owners love their kids too. They train them in gun safety, using guns for sport, hunting, and personal protection. The average gun owner's kids aren't shooting up schools. Gun owners know bad guys with guns are out there and the best way to be safe from them is to be prepared to effectively defend themselves So WHAT can we do to prevent school shootings?
We Are a Gun Culture Since Our Founding
According to American Gun Facts America has more guns than people:
32% of Americans say they personally own a firearm according to the 2021 National Firearms Survey. This means that more than 81.4 million Americans own guns. This number only includes adults over 18. When you include family members who live in the same household as a gun owner, that number jumps to 41% of all Americans. Gallup has this figure estimated at 44% of households
Should We Ban Guns
Over 393 Million guns are in civilian hands, the equivalent of 120 firearms per 100 citizens. The average gun-owning American has 5 firearms. Do we expect that we can confiscate or see a voluntary turn-in of the number of guns that exist to that magnitude? It's not happening. The 2nd Amendment is too engrained in the fabric of the nation. Now What?
Should We Limit Access
Science and the courts tell us we aren't fully accountable adults until the age of 25. We have set age limits on when we are old enough to drink, to vote, to enter into contracts, to legally engage in sex or marriage, to drive, or serve in the military or experience the full weight of the justice system.
But not all 18-year-olds are the same. Many if not most, are just fine, so do we limit access to 2nd Amendment Rights for millions, based on the fear of actions by a few? And wouldn't the bad guys still be able to get illegal guns before they turned 21... or 25? Access is already there. Further limits will impact honest, responsible gun owners the most. What about addressing the psychological health of kids?
Should We Crack Down On Bullies
It seems a common thread among these younger shooters is the fact that they were bullied by classmates at some point in their life. Bullying can leave lifelong scars and insecurities on the victims. Too often bullying leads the victim to take their own life, and in other circumstances, the victim chooses to strike back at the bullies and at a society that seems to have promoted or allowed for their mental torture to happen and continue.
How far are we willing to go to intercept bullying and bullies in school? Isn't it better to send mental health professionals to schools to talk to bullies, parents, and victims rather than wait and have to send them in to counsel the survivors and families of the victims of a mass shooting?
What Should We Be Teaching
If we are going to carve out time in the school day to teach controversial sex-ed programs to kids and if we are going to take time to teach subjects like Critical Race Theory, should we instead, teach the lessons learned from previous mass shootings? Kids talk, they communicate, and they have instincts. They need to know how best to share clues and signs of trouble with responsible adults who then need to have the courage as well as the legal and administrative support to act.
Should We Involuntarily Commit For Mental Health
Mental Health. In this day, at this time in our broken world, school counselors need to be more than class schedule supervisors. Mental health issues are everywhere and schools need to have counselors with the expertise to recognize and intercept potential problems. Society needs to realize that even in a free country, pre-emptive, self-preservational steps are prudent to take. To commit someone for their own good and the good of society needs to be a viable option.
Does EVIL Exist in the World
I believe it does and I believe nothing in conventional society can intervene when it's in full effect.
Worst Case Scenario
This would be a seemingly normal kid, with no bullying, no abuse at home, no past criminal record, no mental health issues, no social media red flags who just snaps. In other words, someone who gives absolutely no warning signs. If we can't interrupt such an individual on the front end before they acts, can we not make the attempt to act as impossible as is possible?
So What Can We Do
We arm and post guards and build secure prisons to isolate the worst among us because of the RISK to the rest of us if they get free. We value our money so we arm guards and station them to act as a deterrence to the risk of theft. The bottom line is that what we value most, we protect, with obstacles to access like bars, safes, locks, and armed guards.
We say that the children are our future. We say that kids are our most precious resource. Really? Time to PROVE IT! Isn't it time to put our money where our mouths are? EVERY school in America needs and deserves a security retrofit. I'm no expert but we have architects and security pros who are, and they can design, develop and deploy the safest measures possible to keep kids safe inside the school.
Gun Free Zones
Time to adjust to the realities of today's world and replace those virtue-signaling "Gun Free Zone" signs that hang outside the schoolhouse door. They practically invite anyone of ill intent to come in knowing that they will face no resistance here.
Instead, replace them with signs that boldly proclaim - Our School Is a SAFE Zone for kids. We are armed and trained and we WILL defend this place and our people at all costs. Then spend the money to arm and train the willing staff and secure police or ex-military personnel to help us live up to the idea of protecting our future, our treasure, our most precious resource.
Time To Act On What We Can In The Short Term
It's complicated. We need God, we need Dads at home, we need understanding, we need kindness, we need hope, we need economic opportunity, we need personal responsibility. we need discipline and more. It's complicated. But we can harden access to our kids and we can allow them to be protected in the building by armed and trained adults who take it seriously when they hear us say our kids are our future, our most precious resource. And from this moment forward we must commit to this promise - You Won't Hurt Them Anymore.