Of course, that did not last long. The very next story on that same news show broadcast from Washington was all about the politics of “Gun Control.” Then, within days busloads of people, financed by whom???, suddenly appeared at the Florida State Capital and scripted questions were asked at CNN broadcast town meetings denouncing the NRA and anyone who did not support the anti-gun agenda.
In this instance and all similar to them much reason has been lost. Full disclosure requires that I fully state my associations. I am a member of the NRA, I love to target shoot, and I isolate variables by doing my own reloading, as a graduate student at UNO in the 1970s I had the pleasure of working in a local gun shop where I started knowing nothing, but ended up preforming gun repairs and learning a lot about customers and weapons.
That having been said, this is my perspective:
First, you will never get rid of guns. The Second Amendment protects gun possession and there are too many out there going back to before WWI to ever get rid of them. If an attempt were made to ban guns only law-abiding citizens would be disarmed. Furthermore, if we cannot stop drugs from getting into the country, these same smugglers would have a new and more lucrative market sneaking in weapons. Result: only those who will ill use guns would possess them.
Second, Enforce Existing Laws! Several of the most recent incidents were entirely preventable. The shooting in South Carolina at the church was conducted by a man who was not eligible to own a firearm. Nevertheless, he entered a gun shop and purchased a weapon because of a failure of on the part of ATF to properly respond.
The Fort Hood shooter was a military officer who had become a radicalized Islamist and everyone knew it. But did nothing! Why? Was it political correctness? This mass murder was called “workplace violence”, not terrorism, by the Obama Administration.
The most recent tragic incident in Florida was particularly galling. The FBI was notified about this young man’s postings months before the event, no follow-up. The FBI was notified once again in January…NO FOLLOW-UP. Local police went to the home nearly 39 times for domestic and other issues…NO FOLLOW-UP. People called and warned, students and teachers knew, yet nothing was done! Blame guns??? Blame incompetency on the part of law enforcement. He too should never have been allowed to purchase a fire-arm.
Third, privacy. This has gone too far. Schools are public buildings and what happens in a public building is NOT subject to privacy. Many students have issues. These issues have to be dealt with. Teachers know the problem children. Sometimes they are even assaulted by them. There must be a means of getting word out and help for this kids. Turning a blind eye and hiding behind privacy laws results in incidents like so many that have happened over the years.
Sadly, schools find themselves trapped by federal regulations where now students who continually exhibit behavioral problems can be considered as having a “disability.”
Fourth, Bullying. All too often we see fights in schools filmed on cellphones and posted on the internet. Sometimes this is gang related. Someone who is continually bullied may react in a violent manner when they finally reach their limit. Again rigid enforcement of rules is necessary. These kids, many over the age of 16, are not in a free zone. They are in a public building. They should be handcuffed, arrested, and charged with assault. Will this traumatize them? I hope so! That sends a clear message to everyone that such behavior will not be tolerated.
Fifth, Teachers with weapons. Fact, most shooting incidents are over within a few minutes. Seldom can law enforcement arrive in time to prevent the carnage. We need protection on campus. That being said, you do not just arm teachers. I would not carry a gun on campus.
However, those making such an attack know that they have no fear of counter-attack because it is a “Gun Free Zone”. Several unidentified teachers could be armed, but ONLY if post certified and undergo continued training just like a regular police officer. Teachers with military or police backgrounds would be advisable.
Sixth, the culture of violence. I despise hypocrisy. There is little worse than hearing Hollywood celebrities who have made millions slinging weapons killing people in movies pontificating about the evils of guns. Hollywood promotes violence. Maybe they should put their integrity where their money comes from and say… “I will not shoot people in a movie!” Make this the new “Me Too” movement! Don’t hold your breath on that one!
The same applies to violent video games. Movies are passive. You watch the carnage and become desensitized. Video games, especially using virtual reality, makes you a participant. You are fully engaged in the action. It is only a small step from Virtual Reality to Reality. Many of these shooters play violent video games. We are training them to be efficient killers with knowledge of various weapons systems.
Seventh, comes the NRA. It has a responsibility. Bump Stocks, sound suppressors, and second-market extended clips turning 9 shot pistols into 40 round machine-pistols must be addressed. Just look at the yellow cones on a crime scene and check out the number on them. The highest number is the number of brass casings found on the scene. These gang-bangers are terrorizing neighborhoods by spraying deadly fire all over the community. There is no reason to have 30-40 rounds in a gun. The NRA should also work to enforce existing gun laws by working with law enforcement and gun shop owners. The NRA has to become more pro-active and less re-active.
Lastly, mental health. Nearly every one of the shooters involved in these types of killings suffer from mental deficiencies. As mentioned above, parents, siblings, friends, neighbors, and teachers know this about them. When you are a potential threat to others or yourself…you have no privacy!
More importantly, we have to spend the necessary funds to address mental health issues in this country. In some instances this extremely violent perpetrators are victims as well. Victims of the torments of their mental situations, of the society that rejects them, and the lack of facilities needed to treat them. They feel abandoned and disconnected because they are abandoned and disconnected.
Bottom line is this. It is infuriating when people seek to take advantage of such horrible events trying to glean some political advantage. This is not about politics or guns. It is about people and the needs of people. It’s about a culture of violence on too many levels that some are profiting handsomely from that has desensitized our youth and invited violent behavior. It’s about intervention, not privacy, in school environments where these problems surface. Its about the destruction of the nuclear family and the influence of parents on children’s behavior.
In summary, it’s about finding solutions to some very dangerous human problems that are being aided and abetted by some of the very people who claim to be concerned. School shootings are NOT a recent phenomenon. They have been recorded since the Enoch Brown School Massacre in 1764 where a school master and nine children were killed by Native/Americans during the Pontiac War to the most recent Parkland, Florida incident taking the lives of seventeen and wounding fourteen. Looking over history over 499 school shootings have occurred. Look it up!
This can no longer be ignored. As a nation, we have to work together to find solutions.
Ron Chapman is a businessman, history professor and award winning columnist