School shoot­ing so­lu­tions

Starkville Daily News - - FORUM -

As almighty as the govern­ment thinks it is, it can’t leg­is­late hate away.

It can’t erad­i­cate men­tal ill­ness, undo a bad child­hood or make an evil per­son good.

But what it can do in the wake of the hor­rific school shoot­ing in Park­land — the worst in Florida’s his­tory — is im­ple­ment a series of com­mon-sense mea­sures to keep our kids safe in school. The first would be ad­dress­ing gun laws that al­lowed the ac­cused Park­land shooter to legally pur­chase an as­sault ri­fle de­spite the fact that he’d been treated for men­tal ill­ness and be­hav­ioral prob­lems; posted vi­o­lent threats on so­cial me­dia, in­clud­ing say­ing he wanted to be a “pro­fes­sional school shooter”; and dis­played other red flags that should’ve re­stricted his abil­ity to buy a firearm of any kind.

At this junc­ture, Amer­i­cans ought to come to a con­sen­sus that gun con­trol isn’t a Repub­li­can or Demo­cratic is­sue; it’s a com­mon-sense is­sue. Dan­ger­ous in­di­vid­u­als with a long his­tory of trou­bling be­hav­ior shouldn’t be al­lowed to buy a gun. Pe­riod.

Some strict Se­cond Amend­ment ad­vo­cates will ar­gue that tougher gun laws wouldn’t stop crim­i­nals from get­ting guns il­le­gally on the black mar­ket. This is true, and the gun vi­o­lence in Chicago, a city with tough gun laws, is a prime ex­am­ple. But tougher gun laws would’ve blocked the ac­cused Park­land shooter from legally buy­ing a gun, and that fact must not be over­looked. It’s not a zero-sum game.

Next, the Depart­ment of Jus­tice and Congress must ad­dress the FBI’s go­liath fail­ure to take ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion af­ter re­ceiv­ing cred­i­ble tips about the ac­cused shooter’s de­ranged and vi­o­lent so­cial me­dia posts, along with other ma­jor in­di­ca­tors that a mas­sacre was im­mi­nent. This in­ex­pli­ca­ble in­com­pe­tence has prompted Florida Gov. Rick Scott to call for FBI Di­rec­tor Christo­pher Wray’s res­ig­na­tion. With good rea­son.

What’s the point of an FBI tip line if cred­i­ble tips that war­rant in­ter­ven­tion go unchecked?

What hap­pened at the FBI is both a man­age­rial and a pro­ce­dural break­down that must be fixed im­me­di­ately, with or with­out Wray’s res­ig­na­tion.

Then there is the is­sue of on­site school safety. All schools across the na­tion must re­view their ex­ist­ing pro­to­cols and eval­u­ate what they could do to en­hance se­cu­rity over­all. This in­cludes the place­ment of metal de­tec­tors at schools and in­creas­ing the pres­ence of armed guards, as well as hav­ing key fac­ulty mem­bers, such as the prin­ci­pal and vice prin­ci­pal, be­come trained to use a firearm, an idea Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump weighed in on this week. He tweeted: “His­tory shows that a school shoot­ing lasts, on av­er­age, 3 min­utes. It takes po­lice & first re­spon­ders ap­prox­i­mately 5 to 8 min­utes to get to site of crime. Highly trained, gun adept, teach­ers/coaches would solve the prob­lem in­stantly, be­fore po­lice ar­rive. GREAT DE­TER­RENT!” He added: “If a po­ten­tial ‘sicko shooter’ knows that a school has a large num­ber of very weapons tal­ented teach­ers (and oth­ers) who will be in­stantly shoot­ing, the sicko will NEVER at­tack that school. Cow­ards won’t go there...prob­lem solved. Must be of­fen­sive, de­fense alone won’t work!”

What should also be con­sid­ered is turn­ing K-12 schools into gated com­mu­ni­ties. Fenc­ing would be in­stalled sur­round­ing school prop­erty, with an armed guard man­ning a se­cu­rity gate. Any­one wish­ing to en­ter school prop­erty would have to show ID to the guard. This mea­sure would’ve stopped the ac­cused Park­land shooter from en­ter­ing Mar­jory Stone­man Dou­glas High School, as a se­cu­rity guard would’ve no­ticed he did not have a stu­dent ID badge and had no le­git­i­mate rea­son to en­ter school grounds.

Many re­tire­ment com­mu­ni­ties through­out the U.S. are gated com­mu­ni­ties. And plenty of Hol­ly­wood elites live in se­cure en­claves to en­sure their safety. Why not pro­vide the same pro­tec­tion to our chil­dren dur­ing school hours?

While lis­ten­ing ses­sions with law­mak­ers and pub­lic dis­cus­sion continue, it’s im­por­tant for stake­hold­ers to ac­knowl­edge that com­plex so­ci­etal prob­lems aren’t mono­lithic and rarely have a sim­ple so­lu­tion. We need a multi-pronged ap­proach that plugs the many cracks in the sys­tem that need fixing.

Amer­i­cans must pres­sure law­mak­ers and school of­fi­cials to en­act real change — not lip ser­vice — be­fore an­other pre­ventable tragedy takes place.

Enough is enough.

Adri­ana Co­hen is a syn­di­cated colum­nist with the Bos­ton Herald. Fol­low her on Twit­ter @ Adri­anaCo­hen16. To find out more about Adri­ana Co­hen and read her past columns, please visit the Cre­ators Syn­di­cate web­page at www. cre­ators.com.

ADRI­ANA CO­HEN SYN­DI­CATED COLUM­NIST

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