After all school shootings, a cry goes up to protect our children by adding more guns to the mix. For example, in Kentucky a legislator has proposed arming school officials. It’s as if putting guns in the hands of school officials will keep them out of the hands of children or young adults, those implicated in school shootings. Has anyone truly thought this through?
The common assumption is that we cannot know what motivates these shooters and, therefore, are unable to prevent them. The shooters just snapped without warning. A usual argument in response is to propose arming school personnel because it takes too long for the police to respond. A similar argument is that we can’t trust the police to protect us; we must protect ourselves from a dangerous world. Lastly, there’s the assertion that the Second Amendment prevents any restrictions on gun ownership, making guns in the home legal. It is not legal gun owners who kill, but criminals.
In truth, we have studied every school shooting and know that these shooters have been bullied and harassed, and have clues to their intent. We know that they use relatives’ guns that were not secured properly, often left loaded and easily accessible for self-protection. We know, then, the lethal mix of bullying and a desire for revenge with easy access to guns are the toxic mix that results in killing children in schools.
All these ingredients can be remedied if we can just get over our obsession with guns.
Albany (Jan. 28)