Ed.: 022018a – Words: 1565 – Audio: N/A
Having lived in Vegas and working on the Strip for four years I wouldn’t give anyone any odds that any politician will do anything about taking any action toward some level of preventing mass shootings in the future. Judging from the reporting in the media, the public doesn’t give much hope either. What makes it all the more frustrating is the general current mood of the country.. political, cultural, and spiritual, we are pretty divided. So given that, nothing much is getting done even on a so-called “good” day in this country. This school shooting tragedy just thrusts to the surface yet again the mental health and gun control questions we managed to tuck away since the last shooting that also went nowhere… those 50+ dead at the hands of the Vegas sniper (and the other 18 school shootings already in 2018). Personally I gave up all hope when I was positive 20 little kids killed in their school at Sandy Hook would spawn some action… but didn’t.
I recently read somewhere that in commenting about the Vegas shooting then FOX’s Bill O’Reilly, in the typical right wing inclination to shift the rage away from guns, essentially shrugged it off and said “This is the price of freedom.” Well, he’s an idiot in general.. but… for years I have been saying that all gun related murders are the price of having our Second Amendment.
[Note: If the deaths of Americans by mass shooters is the price of freedom then can we assume they all died as casualties of our freedoms… collateral casualties of some political-social divisiveness “combat”?]
No.. this isn’t a gun control rant. We are way beyond that now. I will discuss that in another post in this series, and it’s not what you might think. In a way I am actually trying to “save” the Second Amendment.
A Personal Experience –
Way back prior to the Columbine shooting my three kids were attending the same local middle school where we lived in a Chicago Northwest suburb, and since I was a parent of students, and a business owner as well, I managed to get myself involved in some school district issues. One such project I got into resulted in what seemed unimaginable in the turmoil of today’s climate. The district administration got the idea to poll parents in the community to see who might have certain interests, skills, professions, for volunteering to be a guest classroom instructor in that particular subject. It was an attempt to introduce real-world applications into the classroom. The parent’s interest or career profession was entered on a list and that list became a resource for the instructor of that subject.
I was on the list twice… one was business; to present the use of math applications. The other subject I volunteered for was history.. specifically the Civil War. I got the call for one business class.. and that seemed to go well; a few students were even still awake when I was done. Then I got a call by a teacher to explain the origins of the Civil War. I told the instructor that I had a couple artifacts from the Civil War to use as a kind of visual aid… a couple expended bullets I pulled out of the ground with my metal detector… and an old, non-functioning percussion, early breech loading, single shot 1864 Burnside Carbine I acquired from an old friend a decade back. My topic was on Fort Sumter (oddly an event before the Burnside was made). The teacher said to bring whatever I had.
Even then I had a measure of common sense that I’d be better off putting the Burnside in a gun case rather than prance around the school grounds with it exposed.. even if it was non-functioning (actually, it turned out that the typical gun case has a greater silhouette and still looks like you’re carrying a gun, although hidden from view). I parked the car in the school parking lot… took the gun case, with the antique gun inside, out of my trunk… and toddled into the school. Again trying to accommodate my sense of security I went to the school office to check with them first. The clerk behind the counter gave me a rather confused gaze when I explained to her that I was a guest instructor and that I just wanted to let them know I had an antique rifle for the kids to touchy-feely.
“Oh, that’s ok. No need to check in here. Just go to the classroom.”
Well, I did just that. Not one person in the empty halls was there to challenge me, and when my class was done I simply walked out as the kids filled the halls to their next class.
My point…. this was three weeks before Columbine. Imagine me trying that today. Sign of the times.
This is my introduction to my observations and actual suggestions for making at least some attempt toward trying to save people from becoming victims of mass shootings. The essence of this post series is the idea that trying to stop/reduce mass shootings of all kinds in this country is a HUGELY complex situation because of overlapping considerations that not only challenges the way we perceive our freedoms but also our faith in the Constitution.
This entire debate between those who want some measure of gun control and those who don’t, rests entirely on fear. On one side it’s the fear of our loved ones.. especially children.. dying at the hands of a mass shooter. The other side is fearing the loss of the Second Amendment. On the surface one might think that lives outweigh pure speculation that the right to bear arms will be taken away. Yet it’s not that easy.
I want to point out that in the emotion and trauma of shootings it’s normal for everyone.. the injured victims, the families of those killed, the public in fear… everyone, is looking to find a reason a shooter has gotten as far as he did. We tend to attack processes, responsible agencies, parental upbringing.. all those elements that tend to get implicated with social finger pointing. When we do that all we end up doing is consuming ourselves from within in assigning blame. In the case of the current school shooting we have an outstanding opportunity to understand in great detail how a person intent on killing people can carry out their crime IN SPITE of all the processes we had in place to detect in advance what was going to happen. Again.. this isn’t “It’s all the FBI’s fault” or “it’s all the school’s fault” or “it’s all local law enforcement’s fault”… the fault is that collectively we believed, in error, that tossing the problem on to some entity to detect in advance and then presuming all will be good, is just pure short-sightedness. But.. it side steps, very conveniently, having to engage the political fight with the gun manufacturers and the NRA… much to their delight. This shooting event is a “perfect storm” of fallacies and misconceptions in dealing with the problem of mass shootings. One could almost hear the NRA taking out their checkbook and flipping their Rolodex to those D.C. phone numbers. But even they are not totally to blame either.
[Note: In a strange sense of irony, the only gun control process that has been in place that has worked consistently has been gun sellers having complied with doing their required database clearance vetting at time of purchase. I am not aware of any mass shooter who actually purchased their weapon, illegally side-stepping the look-up process, from an authorized gun dealer.]
The following is a list of the next few posts where I will provide some substance toward addressing the problem. Yep.. I am going to go where no Congress has gone before, where no president has stepped, and what no media pundit has considered. A lowly unknown armchair political blogger with barely 21 followers will TRY and solve this problem… or in the least get someone’s brain thinking, hopefully someone who can do something. Maybe one of my followers serves in Congress and can get this show on the road.
Here’s what I will be covering….
Part One: An Introduction To Looking The Other Way
Part Two: The Second Amendment (And Those Other Ones)
Part Three: Everything Is About Mental Health
Part Four: What The Schools And Parents Can Do
Part Five: What Law Enforcement And The “Databases” Can Do
Part Six: What The Public Can Do
Part Seven: What Politicians Should Consider
Part Eight: What Law Enforcement, Overlapping Entities, and Those “Databases” Can Do
Our other alternative if we again ignore all this? Well, we can just continue to ignore the real problems knowing that as we speak the next shooter is out there.. a ticking time bomb waiting to lock & load.. and that’s O’Reilly’s price of freedom. Too bad, so sad.
If all that doesn’t convince you that this problem needs tough thought… consider this…. we are vulnerable to manipulation by other nations who wish us harm when we self-consume like this and generate divisiveness. CNN is reporting on this…
Russia-linked bots are promoting pro-gun messages on Twitter in an attempt to sow discord in the aftermath of the Florida school shooting, monitoring groups say.
(Read it HERE.)
Our national vacillating about gun control is now a national security matter. Feeling secure yet?