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Make it Work

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

Make our current systems work first -- then figure out if additional changes are needed. This past week, 17 people were murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, by a single shooter. As a mother of two teenagers, I cannot image the heartbreak of the friends and families of the victims. A tragedy.


Possibly it could have been averted.

People are outraged, as they should be -- but they are fixated on the changes we should make or need to make, many of which might be helpful, BUT...our big problem right now is that not even the current system is working.

Our current systems have to work. We must demand that they work. Before we begin to add additional layers to our systems, we must make sure that the systems we have in place are working.

When tragedy strikes, it's human nature to do something. We want to be in control; we want it to ensure it never happens again, we want to protect those we love, we want to make something new happens.

But before something new happens, we should begin by fixing the current system.

Here are some examples that underscore just how broken our current systems are:

--In January, according to an FBI statement provided on February 16, someone called into their tip line to give them a warning of the killer's "gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior ... and the potential of him conducting a school shooting.

"Under established protocols, the information provided by the caller should have been assessed as a potential threat to life. The information should have been forwarded to the FBI Miami field office, where appropriate investigative steps would have been taken," the statement said.


"The information was not provided to the Miami field office, and no further investigation was conducted at that time."

Potentially preventable.

--In 2009, an Army major known by the FBI to have been in contact with an al-Qaida terrorist killed 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas. This FBI knowledge was uncovered during a congressional investigation.

Potentially preventable.

--In June 2015, nine people were killed in a church shooting in Charleston, S.C. Afterwards, then-FBI Director James B. Comey apologized for "lapses in the FBI's background-check system," saying that "An error on our part is connected to this guy's purchase of a gun."

Potentially preventable.

--The shooting at the Orlando nightclub in January 2016 in which 49 people were killed is another example. The shooter had pledged his allegiance to ISIS and had been investigated twice by the FBI before the event - but the FBI had determined he was not a threat.

Potentially preventable.

--Last year, a gunman killed 26 people in a small church in Texas. Afterwards, the Air Force acknowledged that it had failed to enter the man's domestic violence court martial into the federal data base and that, had it done so, the man would not have been able to buy the weapon.

Potentially preventable.


--Late last year, two students in New Mexico were killed by a shooter who had been investigated in 2016 after he made an online comment about carrying out a mass shooting.

Potentially preventable.

These are just the few lapses that are publicized. There may be more killings that could have been prevented had the background checks worked properly (with all information entered and processed correctly), and had the investigations been conducted thoroughly.

For those who work in business, the concept that we should add more systems on top of a currently broken system appears ludicrous. If it's not working now -- how can more of anything make it better? Fundamentals first.

Before we begin to add additional layers to the current system, we should require that our current government systems work. Our big problem right now is that not even the current system is working.

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