A lifetime friend of mind posted his thoughts on the recent school shootings in Parkland, Florida on Facebook. He wrote:
I’ve seen posts claiming the FL shooter was with ANTIFA, others that he was associated with Alt-right. Neither is relevant, or important. They are distractions from the real issue.
I’ve seen posts saying ‘now is not the time’. I agree completely. The time was after the last mass shooting, and the one before that, and the one before that. It’s LONG PAST TIME. We currently allow virtually any of our fellow Americans the tools to kill our children and teachers, our young men and women, OUR FUTURE.
I’ve seen posts proclaiming the merits of arming teachers or increasing security and police presence. Without discussing the costs or consequences.
I don’t believe there is a single answer. Nor do I believe the solution will be simple or without all of us giving up something. I do believe we as a nation must say ‘No more’.
Please, take my ‘right’ to own an assault weapon. I yield it to increase the hope I have for my grandchildren. And yours.
I’d like to share my response to him with you. I said:
We grew up together in school and church and started with similar values and views. Perhaps our different life experiences since then have caused us to have opposing views on the subject.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming has no gun control laws. Chicago has the most restrictive gun controls in the country. I think that even you will agree that Chicago is rife with gun violence of all types. My point is that the problem is the individual … not the gun.
My father’s family used hunting as the only way to put meat on their table during the Great Depression. It became part of their culture. I remember the first animal that I shot as a hunter. It was a rabbit and I blew its head off. Doing so repulsed me so much that I never went hunting or even fired another shot again. Needless to say, I’ve never purchased a gun.
There is a definite pattern to these “soulless shooters”. They have no respect to life and all have easily diagnosed as “someone likely to murder”. They are exposed to countless movies with graphic gunfire and first person shooter games that remove any of the sense of remorse that I experienced with that rabbit. They grew up in a culture that worships celebrities more than everyday good people … and they yearn for their (albeit brief) time in the Celebrity Spotlight!
How about our moral institutions? Both you and I were shaped by the lessons that we learned in Sunday School at Calvary Lutheran. Whether I visit Calvary with my sister or attend the First Ramsey Presbyterian Church, there are too few children in attendance. We used to say the Lord’s Prayer at Dover Elementary school. Today, religion has become a pariah at the hands of our secular state!
The biggest way to fix the problem is one that too many people will find to be too politically incorrect to wish to consider. Once an individual leaves the school system (by graduation, dropping out, or being expelled as this latest shooter was), they totally fall off the Earth in terms of having any support system to help them … other than enrolling them in programs that throw money at them and hope they disappear. As the parent of an autistic young man, I have seen this first hand. My son’s problem is that his parents gave him values that made him too proud to accept government handouts.
For many years, this (and many other shooters) could have been diagnosed as having issues and been given INTRUSIVE mental health intervention. Unfortunately, civil libertarians (perhaps well meaning people like you) would take to the streets to protest this. It this young man had received that intervention, there is a good chance that this shooting would not have occurred. He was surely a candidate for it. The mother of the Sandy Hook shooter desperately tried to get help for her son … but was unable to do so.
What makes it even worse is that our privacy laws (HIPPA, for example) prevent schools and professionals from identifying kids who are at risk of becoming mass murders. There is no database tying mental health issues into any firearms registration system. The philosophy of the mental health issue seems to be “throw medication at problems” rather than doing what is necessary to prevent them. Their failure is more than with shooters … a huge percentage of the homeless population are homeless due to untreated mental health issues!
I agree with you. THESE SHOOTINGS NEED TO STOP!
I strongly disagree with you that the problem is the gun. We need to do what is necessary to intervene with individuals to prevent them from feeling that they need to do so!
I won’t go into the need to preserve the 2nd Amendment SOLELY as a means of providing a check against a tyrannical government … unless you want to go there in your reply to me.