A report came out from the commission investigating the Parkland shooting today.
It’s recommendations essentially boiled down to:
- More security in schools.
- Arm teachers who want to be armed and trained/
- Police need to be more gung-ho responsive when a school shooting occurs.
- More mental health resources.
In short the report offers as solutions measures that have already proven to have limited, if any effect, at preventing more tragedies like what happened in Parkland. However, better solutions exist out there, if we are up for the challenge.
ARMING TEACHERS AND POLICE RESPONSE
The middle two items above are reactive, not proactive solutions.
They do not one darn thing to prevent a kid from shooting. They just react once the shooting starts.
If that someone is armed like Cruz was, that means people are probably already dead.
(And yes, I mean it. They are reactive. Based on interviews with shooters, it is apparent that they don’t really care much whether there is an armed presence or the cops might be coming.)
Maybe the shooter is stopped before racking up a huge death toll, but that is no consolation to the parents of one of the slain.
Further, I think one of the worst things we can ask of teachers is that they be ready to kill their students.
More security in schools tends to be dicey.
It requires resources, like money, manpower, etc., that few school systems have to spare. So to enact it means taking away from actual education of our kids. Which defeats the purpose of having a school in the first place.
Finding an effective form is also difficult, and varies greatly. I mean, it’s one thing to say “more security in schools”, but that’s like a politician’s campaign promise. Where you are left wondering what that actually means, what specifically they are proposing be done, and how on earth could it actually be implemented.
Plus, again, it has limited ability to actually prevent shootings. Sometimes it works. But sometimes, especially depending on the security, it doesn’t. And what happens when the shooter can’t get into the school? Well, if they really are serious, they can just shoot kids on the way in or out.
So, not necessarily a good preventative while remaining a costly approach.
MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES
Look, school counselors have been calling for more mental health resources for a long, long time. The excuse usually is that there is no money to implement. So is that money supposed to suddenly appear now? Again, this ends up being a solution at the cost of giving our children an education.
We keep saying we need to do more with mental health and to change our attitudes about it. But so far most of what it has been is just talk.
Further, in the context of the Parkland incident, it really flies in the face of what appears to have happened. There were mental health resources. Cruz should have been able to use them. They should have been made available to him. But at multiple levels the system broke down and ensured he did not get access. That’s a system error, not a need more mental health resources error.
Again, I say it is high time that we get serious about improving mental health resources and our attitudes about mental health, but I doubt this report would actually amount to a positive in that direction. However, it is the most preventative measure noted.
That said, it may not be as much of one as we would like. A lot of shooters don’t present as flat out crazy. They may raise some red flags, but no more than a lot of people who have no intention of shooting up anything might. They don’t necessarily get noticed and referred for help because there is not necessarily anything much to note. Plus, are we going to force them to seek these resources if they do not wish to use them and are not obviously presenting as a danger to themselves or others?
So, relying on this solution alone is naive.
There are common sense things we can do, but none of them appears to have made the report.
That includes reasonable legislation. People have mentioned better, more uniform background checks, red flag laws, mandatory gun locks, slightly longer waiting periods. In states that have implemented them, it has reduced the number of injuries and deaths due to gun violence, including bringing down the numbers in two big areas — domestic violence and suicide.
But we need to do more. We need to change our culture with respect to guns.
They are not a magic wand. Having one in your hand does not magically fix everything for you. It does not make you solely in control of your life. Possessing it will not make you suddenly able to fix or even handle all of your life problems.
The glamour surrounding the gun needs to end.
It is not a multi-purpose tool, like knives, or cars.
It is a weapon, with one purpose–To kill.
Sure some folks take them to shooting ranges of sport. But guns were not developed with that in mind, any more than bows and arrows were.
They are designed to kill. They are killing machines. Respect that. Stop glamorizing them. Treat them like what they are.
I am not against folks owing guns. I know plenty of people who do. I know plenty of people who use and own them responsibly. It is possible to own and use guns, to find that they serve a necessary self-defense or other purpose in your life, and not glamorize them.
We can do better by our children, and actually do something enormously constructive toward preventing more shootings, by working to change the culture and mystique we have have about guns.
And that is, in part, a specific challenge to all those “any gun reform equates to trying to abolish the Second Amendment”/slippery slope advocates.
You say you grieve with the rest of us when tragedies like the Parkland shooting happen. You say you want the same things the rest of us do in this regard.
Prove it. Stand up for preventative non-legislative options that people propose.
I literally have heard a pack of you freak out about the idea of pediatricians asking new parents if they have a gun in the home so they can provide the parents guidance on safety measures to keep their new child safe.
Instead you keep forwarding reactive solutions that essentially amount to “more guns”. Not preventative ones. How, exactly, is “more guns” going to reduce suicides or keep a toddler from inadvertently shooting themselves or someone else?
So, I challenge you to actually get behind preventive solutions. I challenge you to work to change our culture and stop glamorizing guns.
Yes, that means stop watching NRA TV and stop buying the NRA’s line of talking points. Take what it has to say with a gain of salt.
Stop thinking of guns as magic wands that will magically make you completely in control of your lives and nothing bad will ever happen to you because you have one.
And don’t tell me you don’t think this way. I have listened to plenty of you rhapsodize on guns in just that vein.
Come on. If you truly are for responsible gun ownership, like you claim to be, then this should be no problem for you.
Stop acting like guns magically make everything better the way nothing real actually can. Then maybe our children will stop learning it from us.