The folks here in Harford County, Maryland, have decided to spend more than a million dollars a year to put cops in middle-schools and set up a crisis center for drug users. At least an initial report in the local paper included some funding for a crisis center. A more recent report says nothing about it, so it may no longer be under consideration. I’m all for a crisis center but wonder why, both locally and nationally, nobody is answering the key question of why kids are taking guns to school?
I’m a boomer and can remember when this never happened. Then it started happening. Why? Don’t we need to find an answer as to why a problem exists before it we can work on solving it? Is there a connection between the violence in schools and increasingly violent entertainment? Are kids acting out what they see in the movies and on tv? Is there some connection to our national acceptance of militarism as a solution to our problems?
History tells us that simply throwing money after a problem will not solve it. How many billions have been spent on the 50 year-old “war on drugs” which has been a miserable failure? Anyway, whatever it is that’s going on here, it’s probably not because of drugs. This wasn’t happening in the 60’s or 70’s and there were plenty of drugs around. Even the terrible influx of cocaine into the central-cities didn’t cause kids to carry guns to school in the 80’s. The gang-bangers were shooting it out in L.A., but the schools were a kind of neutral “safe zone.” The violence was gang on gang. Occasionally an innocent bystander would be shot but there was not this indiscriminate shooting of kids in school. So what’s happening here? What changed? Are we on a path to becoming a police state without an answer as to why?
Where will this stop? When there are cops in body armor with machine guns on sling at every entrance and a tank parked out on the front lawn?
Another school shooting. This one was here in Maryland, down in St. Mary’s County, and again we have public officials sending out “thoughts and prayers.”
I don’t begrudge anyone their desire to pray about something, but isn’t too little attention being given to the central question of why these kids are taking guns to school? Are they all hearing voices or is the answer more complex and maybe having to do with an acceptance of violence by our society coupled with a rejection of attributes like kindness and peace with the need for health care and education being replaced by dog-eat-dog capitalism at home and expanding militarism overseas?
Maybe these kids see adults not giving a damn about one another and they’re following suit? Their condition amplified by violent video games, tv and movies? Could it be that being raised on a steady diet of visual violence is causing some young people to act it out?
It could be that this isn’t just about gun control or any other single issue – although the question of why any American civilian needs a military-grade assault weapon is certainly valid and needs to be hashed out. Beyond that, it could be this requires a broader look at our cultural phenomenon of wanting to kill one-another in near record numbers.
You’d probably have to go back to the the mob wars in Chicago in the 30’s, or maybe even the Civil War, to find this many Americans blowing one another away on a regular basis over a prolonged period of time. Think about Florida and Las Vegas and Sandy Hook and all the others. It’s slaughter. But we seem to have no clear idea as to why. Isn’t that the central question? Don’t we need to identify the cause before setting out to cure the illness?
Thoughts and prayers clearly aren’t working. Talking about what a great job the lone cop in the school in Maryland did, and whether we should have cops in some schools while training and arming teachers in others is not the discussion we should be having. Common sense tells any sentient being that introducing more weapons into a society that’s already armed to the teeth is not a reasonable response to the problem of people shooting one another.
Those leaders left standing who can get beyond their personal political aggrandizement, should be putting together a panel of the nation’s top mental health professionals to figure this out. To prepare a report based upon the best science available, so that we can all have a little more information going forward. Something more than thoughts and prayers or the latest position from NRA-funded politicians. Something that might point to an actual solution.
Until then, please be encouraged to keep praying. You may be all we’ve got.