An unspeakable tragedy, carried out by a maniac who had given people close to him – as well as health practitioners and law enforcement – ample warning of his deficient mental state, has set loose so many reactions. Some of these reactions are natural and necessary, like grief, sorrow, and anger. Others, not so much.
Certainly, citizens of any age have the right, and should be encouraged to express their beliefs in appropriate ways about issues they feel are important. And hundreds of thousands of school-age kids recently marched to protest gun violence. It is a good thing for America’s future that this many young people have enough interest in an issue to strongly support a solution.
Whether it will accomplish positive results, however, depends upon how successful the protesters are in convincing the nation to accept their solutions, and that depends upon how sensible and potentially effective their solutions are.
Some of the prominent youngsters in this movement are smart, thoughtful and sincere, while others are merely reactionaries, and still others have become fond of the spotlight and the adoration that comes with it. It is difficult to tell which of these groups comprises the majority.
When you examine the solutions favored by the protesters, gun control measures and blaming the National Rifle Association (NRA) lead the list. These two targets appear to be the result of immature and faulty thinking, if thinking occurred at all, or perhaps encouragement from special interest groups. And trumpeting them alienates quite a large portion of the American people right off the bat.
Such gross miscalculations raise the question of just how much these young folks know about their country, its history, and the U.S. Constitution. To find a real solution, one that does more than make some folks feel good, requires understanding the intricacies of the problem, and addressing them.
The shooter had mental problems, and some had known that for years.
But the failure of those who knew of his problems, and those of law enforcement and the other failures, were not caused by guns or the NRA.
The school, like most schools, was publicly known as a “gun-free zone,” which is an open invitation to someone like the shooter. Further, the school had insufficient security measures, as evidenced by the shooter’s ease of entering the building. And after he got in, there was absolutely no one inside that could confront him.
It seems like common sense that if you want to prevent school shootings, don’t let shooters come in. Beef up security so that only those who should be in the building are allowed in. The NRA would likely support such a measure very enthusiastically.
Sensible measures that address the actual problems – people with mental problems, inadequate security measures at entrances to the school and no armed security in the building – would likely have prevented this attack or ended it sooner.
And these solutions have the added advantage of not challenging areas of the Constitution’s protection of rights, or foolishly trying to pass the blame to an organization of approximately 5 million innocent, law abiding Americans.
Just because hundreds of thousands of teenage students feel strongly enough to protest a problem and lobby for a solution does not mean that their proposed solution should be adopted, or is the best one.
Further, this large protest is not without its share of irony. The marchers, who were protesting in support of gun bans, were protected by … good guys with guns. And at least one of the good guys had an AR-15, the weapon of choice of the shooter, and the target of the protesters, along with the NRA.
So, if protecting protesters with armed security, and protecting some elected officials and some well-known people with armed security makes sense, why not protect defenseless students with armed security at schools?
Too often, possible solutions that pop up quickly are lousy ideas. One such idea might be: If you want to stop school violence quickly, close down schools. That will stop violence immediately. Without gun-free zones that are shooting galleries: no school shootings. You don’t need expensive buildings and fleets of buses to carry kids back and forth. All schools will be online.
Is that a lousy idea?
And, is it a good thing that organizations and individuals with money got behind this movement and helped with organization, transportation and even the armed security personnel?
Who are they? What did they hope to achieve? Do they have an ultimate goal, and what is it?
Columnist Walter Williams has a far better idea of why school shootings occur: “Gun ownership is not our problem. Our problem is a widespread decline in moral values that has nothing to do with guns. That decline includes disrespect for those in authority, disrespect for oneself, little accountability for anti-social behavior, and a scuttling of religious teachings that reinforced moral values.”
No offense to those truly sincere students who want a solution, but Williams has a far more mature and scholarly grasp of the problem and its causes. Starting from his position is far more likely to produce a good solution to this problem.