America reels from another school shooting, this time at a highschool in Parkland, Florida. We send our thoughts, we send our prayers, we argue about gun control, and we do nothing to prevent the next school shooting.
I want to stop children from being shot at school. This is a problem that needs solving. But how do we do it? We have been trying for years, and although the rate of gun violence in the US has steadily declined, we nevertheless continue to hear news of school shootings. At time of writing, there have been eight school shootings so far this year. While that seems like a small number in relation to the 100,000 public education institutions in the country, it is eight too many, and we all want to solve it.
There is something that I have accepted, that I think we all need to accept as a premise if we are to be most effective at getting this under control: We need to stop talking about additional gun control laws. I am not here to suggest whether they should be changed, or to what extent. That could be debated forever, which is exactly what we do every time we hear about a shooting. We spend all of our energy arguing with each other about one possible solution that we cannot agree on, when we all do want the same result: children to stop being killed at school.
Here is why we need to drop the gun control law debate as it concerns school shootings:
- Gun control laws of any consequence won’t get passed. The NRA will not allow it, Congress is in their pocket. Be as upset as you want, take the time you need, and then adjust to this fact.
- Existing gun control laws are poorly enforced (in most cases, the shooters should not have had access to the firearms they possessed); if we passed new ones, we should only assume they will be as poorly enforced as the existing ones.
“But it would fix it.”
It doesn’t matter. It can’t happen.
“But it works in other countries.”
Are you listening? It doesn’t matter. Even if it worked EVERYWHERE, it still cannot happen here. Laws will not get passed.
Dude, don’t ask me. The NRA, for starters, but also, philosophically speaking, the US was built with skepticism toward government’s benevolence (and with Trump as our president I’ve been more convinced of the wisdom there than ever before)… Regardless, additional gun control laws don’t get passed. You don’t have to take my word for it, just look at exactly what has happened every single time a school shooting has occurred in recent years. No laws get passed.
We need to stop treating that like an option, because it isn’t. Even if it should be, it just isn’t. I’m not arguing an opinion on legislation—my opinion on it doesn’t matter, like everything else about it—I’m simply talking about reality.
Have we finally reached this resignation together?
Ok, so what can we do?
We can spend all of this energy searching for other solutions to protect our children that operate under that premise, that gun control legislation will not change. Here are the benefits to figuring out a way of doing this:
- Everyone is back on the same side. We can now work with EVERYONE, not just our tribe that agrees regarding gun legislation. We are more likely to achieve things (specifically, protecting children’s lives) when we are on the same team.
- We can work faster. Government is slow, and so even if we pretended that gun control legislation could be passed (it can’t), it will be way faster (infinitely faster, in fact) if we can skip that whole process. Even if the government doesn’t work, we can.
- There are probably things we could do tomorrow that would help to prevent shootings at schools (even legislation wouldn’t be able to work that fast).
If we want to save children, we have to swallow our pride and our idealism, and get to work.
I’ll get the brainstorming going with some ideas that have come to my mind. I don’t like all of them, but they passed through my consciousness and this is a brainstorming session. “No bad ideas” at this stage.
- Have a police officer on campus at all times during session (or more, for large schools). This will help deter. Plus they can form lasting community bonds with the kids, which will serve the community overall for years to come.
- Have metal detectors upon arrival. I don’t like this solution, because I don’t think it would be effective (kind of like at the airport). It also has a dystopic feel to it, though I don’t care much about things like that if it’s protecting children’s lives (obviously).
- Ask our friends how they protect their firearms at home. If they don’t protect them well in safes, that only the owner/parent has access to, or have bad practices, they’ll likely be too embarrassed to say OR if they are ignorant of safety, help get them hip to it.
- Take yourself and your family to get firearm safety training, even if you never plan to own a firearm. The country has guns around (300 million of them); being trained in their safe use is nothing but a good idea. And if it is a trend (“Let’s all do this together, nation!”), perhaps some owners who wouldn’t otherwise will get a brush up.
Those four came to me in less than 5 minutes. None of them are refined, but they’re getting my brain grapes working… What ideas come to your mind? Share here, and share with your community so we can get this fixed, together.