A Lonely Shooter

Like most folks, I too have pondered a solution to Newtown and similar tragedies.  How is it that we Americans kill so many, so often, so randomly?   Michael Moore asks us to examine who we are?  Others have proffered other explanations.  I saw this in the paper and thought it might at least solve the issue of school violence:

Pat Oliphant

The reality is there is no easy or single solution.

The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms.  However it makes no mention of bullets, so we might start there.  My eight year old daughter suggested we make everybody secure their guns and bullets at the local police station and check them out when needed.  That probably doesn’t comport with the 2nd Amendment, but it might save a number of children and visitors to shopping malls, movies, schools and local diners.  With upwards of 300 million guns in circulation I’m not sure any kind of gun control will solve anything.  By the time Congress acted most gun stores would be sold out anyway.

We could address mental health.  However the issue of civil liberties (e.g. forced treatment, medication, civil commitment, etc.), not to mention the predictability of violence by those with mental health disorders is not easy to resolve.  Indeed, while Adam Lanza was characterized as strange to his classmates, I haven’t read anything that suggests he was psychotic or violent in any way.

Several years ago I sat on a panel to discuss how to stem violence among young people.  At the time I suggested it might be impossible in America given that our leaders choose violence to solve almost all problems we face.  The panel met not long after the president – with overwhelming popular support – launched a pre-emptive, unprovoked war in the Middle East (I’ve always been somewhat naive).

School security has also been discussed a lot again.  Just remember Sandy Hook already had a number of security measures in place and the Principal ran drills periodically for just the kind of event that took place on December 14, 2012.  Columbine High School had an armed guard on campus the day Klebold and Harris attacked; Virginia Tech had their own police force.

So what do we do?

Don’t teach kids American history, they may repeat it;   Don’t teach them current events, they may mimic them;  Don’t teach them too many stories from the Bible, they may apply them;  Don’t buy them video games, they may enjoy them;  Don’t watch Hollywood movies, they may copy them.

What we have to do is reach out to young boys and men and talk to them.  It appears to me that if there is anything that unites Klebold and Harris and Kip Kinkel and Holmes and Lanza it is loneliness.  In busy cities and bucolic suburbs, these kids were able to isolate themselves.  They weren’t just ‘strange’, they were alone.  Each of us can enter their worlds, make eye contact, and listen.

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3 Responses to A Lonely Shooter

  1. Cliff Grady says:

    Hi Jim, Excellent article and I wonder how much internet, cell phone, texting, TV, etc is serving to isolate us even more ….powerful excapes, especially for the lonely…. These shootings are complex and multifaceted and there will be no easy answer…However, we really need to look at the America we have helped to create and how it is evolving and sincerely look at what we can do to regain our moral compass. Thanks, Cliff

    • Kent Willocks says:

      It’s interesting that the folks who want our teachers carrying guns are the same ones, by and large, that want to cut our teachers salaries and pensions.

  2. Kay Strom says:

    Good article, Jim. So glad you are writing! I suggest we look at the Second Amendment in light of a 2013 America and world. Did our forefathers really intend us all to be armed when we went to get groceries? To school? To church? Did they intend individuals to amass army-level arsenals? Did they intend for the gun manufactuing lobby to control our lawmakers? Freedom is a wonderful thing, to be protected. Unbridled freedom is chaos and bondage. Just my thoughts~

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