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Will a Law Fix It

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/John Amis

Hearts broke nationwide as the news spread regarding the senseless killing at the Covenant School in Nashville, TN.  So many are asking, "Why?"

Politicians have taken their usual positions of blaming the other party and screaming loudly that a new law or two will fix the situation.  The President of the United States is the leading cheerleader for more hate and a lack of responsible thinking.  Those on the other side of the political aisle are engaging in the same game.  There is plenty of blame to go around.


It all has nothing to do with solving the problem.  Their focus is on the primary election in each state and then on to November.  It is a nasty little word, "re-election."

So, what is the solution?

Somehow, outlawing an inert piece of metal doesn't seem like an honest answer to the mass school shooting issue.  As a simple matter of fact, a gun can't shoot a thing until a human pulls the trigger.  A knife cannot cut or stab until a human picks it up and uses it for unintended purposes.   Cars will not kill until someone drives them irresponsibly.

My dad was a farmer and an extraordinarily wise man.  He used to tell me, "Son, you can't fix something until you know what broke it."

Time to find out what broke it.

History is our best teacher.  It is time to see what history has to tell us.

The first recorded American school shooting occurred in a Pennsylvania schoolhouse on July 26, 1764.  Four Lenape American Indians shot and killed schoolmaster Enoch Brown.  Before leaving the little schoolhouse, they killed nine or ten children.  Only two children survived—their motive:  Hate and anger.

For the next 202 years, things rocked along with a single school shooting every year or so.  On one occasion, two teachers shot each other over an argument—the motive:  Hate and anger.


1956 was the High School graduation year for this old country boy.  There were three school incidents that year.  The first occurred in April at a New York City school wherein one student stabbed another to death during a fight over a basketball game.  Motive: anger.

April showers bring May flowers and a Junior High School shooting in a Maryland school.  This time a 15-year-old shot his teacher and a couple of other kids.  He was punished by being reprimanded for his bad behavior.  Motive: anger.

Incident number three in 1956 was back in New York City.  A student with a homemade gun shoots another student in the arm.  The motive is unknown; it might have been an accident. 

The beginning of mass shootings took center stage on August 1, 1966.  Charles Whitman climbs atop the observation deck at the University of Texas-Austin.  Ninety-six minutes later, 31 people are wounded, and 16 are dead—motive: mental illness.

Another horrific event occurred in November when a student that admired Richard Speck walked into a Beauty School, took seven hostages, ordered them to lie on the floor then walked around and shot them in the head.  The weapon used was a 22-caliber pistol.  Four ladies and a three-year-old died—motive: mental illness. 

The uptick in school shootings started in the late 1980s.  Since then, it has continued to climb.  Columbine in 1993, and Parkland, on February 14, 2018, are the two shootings we hear the most about in the news daily.  In both cases, the perpetrators had planned their acts.  Their motive; is mental illness.


Interestingly, we seldom hear about the largest mass shooting in our history.  In Blacksburg, Virginia April 16, 2007, thirty-two students and faculty members perished at the hands of a student that then committed suicide—motive: mental illness.

Do you see a trend starting to develop?

Another issue to throw into the mix; is social media.  Nearly every mass shooter, including the one at Uvalde, had forecast their intentions.  They were all known as potential problems.  No one took any action to stop them.

History teaches us that our society has transformed.  Guns were never a problem during my adolescent and young adult years.  We all had guns.  No one got shot.  Everyone knew where the keys to the car or pickup were as they were in the ignition.  We never even had a key to our house.

Not today.  Our society has become more challenging, less trusting, and more dishonest, and everyone thinks they are a victim of something.  Too many feel the solution to their problems is in government.

It is not.

The answer stares back at us from the bathroom mirror every morning.  We allowed the change to take place.  We are the only ones that can fix it.

It starts at home.  We cannot live in the past, but we can reestablish those solid values that are gone.  Start by ensuring you and your children are raising their children with the values and respect for each other that God expects from us.  Encourage your adult children to work with their neighbors.  Encourage respect for others—hard work and not handouts.  Don't be a victim, be an achiever. 


While working to achieve overall societal change, we must tackle the mental health issue.  Professionals must offer workable solutions that we pressure our lawmakers to facilitate.

Allow law enforcement to interact and stop mass shootings.  These people are identifiable.  Read the stories regarding the last several school shootings.  The shooters were known.  They could have been stopped, and many lives saved.

Finally, in the immediate future, we must make our schools safe for our children.  This includes putting officers in the schools and hardening the physical facility.

Don't let the politicians tell you we do not have the funds to accomplish these goals.

There are 129,069 schools in the US.  Ninety-eight thousand five hundred seventy-seven are public schools, and 30,492 are private.

According to the Federal Government's Auditing Division, better known as the General Accounting Office (GAO), last year, they identified $52 billion in WASTED money in Medicare alone.  That is equivalent to $402,885 per school!

If you add the $54,232 per school from the $7 billion worth of military equipment we abandoned in Afghanistan, each school would have $457,089 to start its program.  If that is not enough, we can find plenty of your money elsewhere; foreign aid comes to mind first.

The school shooting problem can be solved.  We must harden our schools, identify and stop shooters and solve our mental health issues.


No one said it would be easy, but it must be done. 

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