From the chair – Ponder for a moment the state of mind, heart and soul necessary to the act of killing a child. Reflect on how many times in your life you’ve reached the state of darkness necessary to that endeavor. It’s likely you can’t. Studies on killing persistently demonstrate that the psycho-social cocktail necessary to the toxic action of killing our own is beyond the scope of most normal human beings.
It’s for this reason that assumptions on gun control as the solution to stopping school shootings are misguided at best – dangerous at worst. May we also suggest that most of the voices jumping on the “ban guns” wagon have little direct experience with firearms; the authentic history and mission of the 2nd Amendment; or what constitutes a realistic response to school shooting risks? Mind if we – coming from a Republican perspective – give it a try?
It begins with a simple declaration – we all need to matter. In the search for shooter motivations, it helps to remember that as we ponder solutions. If we don’t nurture a culture that loves one another toward good means of mattering – some will stumble toward bad ones. As a path to understanding versus excusing, look into the eyes of the Parkland High shooter and it’s easy to see we missed the mark.
We do that a lot. We do it by perpetuating an “angry victim” cultural model. We do that by letting entertainment elitists turn out games, movies and music that program violence, mayhem and other unconscionable behaviors into the minds of our children. We do that by condemning hate on one hand and then endorsing it on another. We do it by allowing bullying, ridicule and other forms of abuse as a team sport in almost all of our school settings. We do it by ignoring the early cries of hurt, anger and desperation that sometimes morph into a Parkland High end result. We do it by failing to recognize the importance of helping the lost build their good place in the world. We do it by spending so much time on silly nonsense that we neglect the things that matter. We do it by pretending America’s Judeo-Chistian spiritual heritage no longer matters and that secular-humanism is up to the task of holding our dark appetites in check. The list is endless…
Those wishing to do something real about the risks to our children can find some hands on opportunities in the previous paragraph.
It’s for good reason that none of the above keys on gun control. Realities around the world demonstrate that weapon reduction doesn’t work. There is always a weapon – of one sort if not another – for bad people with malice in their mind.
Importantly, we should get realistic about what it means that the number of guns in America rose by 50% between 1991 and 2013, but the number of homicides by guns dropped by 50%. We have as many guns in America as we have people and a very few of them are used for any other purpose than protection.
If there is a gun control piece in protecting our children it is in making sure that a good guy with a gun stands as a visible and realistic counter to potential bad guys with guns. Most bad guys with guns are cowards – they don’t attack police stations for a reason.
The current response to the tragedy at Parkland High is strong on emotion, low on realism. Republican values would suggest we reverse that equation. Anyone who believes that events like the orchestrated CNN Town Hall are going to help us get to a good place might consider a reset. Nothing good is that easy and nothing good comes through bad means.
Are there answers? Absolutely, and we’d like to echo a few that have come from some smart and experienced people across the country. Mind if we break it down into categories?
- Our society is at a point of complexity necessitating that we put as much effort into protecting our children as we put into protecting our politicians, judges, government officials, and military installations.
- Schools are going to have to ramp up their risk response training for teachers and students
- All schools are going to have to have more on site First Responders. Whether those are in the form of resource officers, hired security services, armed teachers/administrators, etc. should be a community decision.
- All schools and communities are going to have to do a better job of addressing risk behaviors/flags before the point of acceleration. School shooters are like cancer – prevention and early intervention are better than an autopsy.
- Enforcement of existing laws should be more than a lip-service agenda – Parkland points to why.
- Background checks need to be strengthened – make the NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) real by make sure data is reliably reported by law enforcement agencies.
- Resist the absurdity of punishing law-abiding systems in their capacity for self-protection in the pretense that a big net will catch the bad fish too.
- Get real on accountabilities for those with demonstrated mental health risk factors and/or a history of violence.
- Accelerate the consequences for the theft or misuse of firearms.
- Establish protocols for stopping gun purchase opportunities for high risk individuals – like the Parkland shooter — with a persisting history of threats, psychiatric abnormality or violence.
- Stop pretending that today’s movies, video-games and music do not inoculate our children to violence and validate such as a constructive path to personal power.
- Stop our broader cultural cultivation of a climate of anger, antagonism and malice. Hating those with which we disagree is setting a social tone that is being absorbed by vulnerable minds and hearts that have poor boundary setting skills.
- Exchange political correctness fads for more authentic identification and intervention for at-risk individuals. Ignored ‘cries for help’ easily morph into social aggression and retaliation – again, Parkland offers an example.
- Get real about bullying – a much tolerated activity in most schools. Too many school shootings are a form of push-back and retaliation by individuals with a history of being abused in the setting they attack.
There are a lot of smart people out there who can help us – together – figure out how to stop bad people from killing our children. It is the Republican view that process will be best served within the confines of reality, reason, responsibility and right – not the raw emotion or political power maneuvers characterizing the response of our opposition.
We know it’s not popular with the Big Government crowd, but we believe that an armed citizenry is an important counter to threats – domestic and otherwise – who would usurp our rights and opportunities through despotic means. We believe it’s OK for those who believe otherwise to seek whatever soft spot they wish through their own choices. We have a problem when these folks feel it necessary to curtail the liberties and self-protection rights of law-abiding citizens to expand their naive sense of a personal comfort zone.
As regards “measured” or “reasonable” gun control and restrictions on our ability to have modern means to self-protection, we don’t buy that rap either. We simply don’t trust the Brand-X federation – and for good reason. We know that your appetites for control are insatiable and without reasoned boundaries.
How do we know that? It begins and ends on the left’s nagging “protect our children” credibility issue. We’ll let conservative Sam Elliott make our final point…