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Restating the problem.

February 19, 2018

Banning semi-automatic weapons, strengthening background checks, throwing more money at providing more mental health counselors or trashing the NRA isn’t going to fix what happened in Parkland, Florida.

That shooting was the result of the perfect storm of human error and reactive, instead of proactive legislation.

This was a case of refusing, or not legally being able to remove the killer from society.

Somehow, doing the right thing didn’t produce the right result.

The background checks were done.  The school expelled the killer. Local law enforcement did respond to complaints from the killer’s family or community members. The killer was exposed to mental health counseling. Social workers did observe him. People did see something and they did say something.

The thing is, none of those actions accomplished the one thing that would have stopped him.

That one thing? Following through, by putting him in a padded room.

The background check isn’t of much use if he wasn’t on the list. Nothing was done to keep him physically away from the school. Local law enforcement couldn’t or didn’t want to have him forcibly committed for long term observation. The voluntary mental health exposure he did get was ineffective at best. The social worker who deemed him to be just looking for attention apparently saw nothing harmful about a young man cutting himself and threatening people to get that attention. The FBI didn’t act, even in the face of specific information, citing the fact that he hadn’t done anything yet and hadn’t threatened a specific person.

No one had the killer arrested for threatening the girl he was obsessed with, and apparently whatever caused the police to visit his home 30 some-odd times didn’t result in anyone filing charges against him, even under domestic violence or assault laws.

You can certainly understand why the students want to punish someone for what happened, or do something to make themselves feel safer, and there’s no shortage of people willing to use their pain for their own purposes.

The problem is, even if they get guns of some or all classifications banned, or the age limit raised to buy a gun, or the NRA disbanded, that’s like killing every dog in town because one chewed up your lawn furniture.

Here are ways to make things better, but maybe marching on City Hall or the state capitals might provide more immediate results than marching on Washington.

Nothing we do as a nation is going to remove every sociopathic or potential mass killer from our world, but it would certainly help if we at least identified them and put them and their enablers away where they can’t hurt us when we do.

From → op-ed

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