I have been listening carefully to all the points of view on what will help curb America’s terrifying problem with school shooters. I believe I know an approach that will help, but it is going to take money. Significant money for every step. So what we need to be marching for and calling our congresspeople for and petitioning the government for is the funding to make these things happen:
- Resource officers. These are armed trained guards. In the school shooting that just happened here in my home state a resource officer was able to take down the shooter. Now an important element of this is that these officers must be very well trained not just in weapons but also in inherent bias. They need to be self-aware enough to accknowledge their own biases and pay attention to overcome them.
- Well trained counselors. School counselors should be given more leeway and opportunity to interact with all the students and be trained to recognize red flags. They need resources to be able to help potentially troubled children. And considering that all the school shooters have been white boys, some racial profiling might be in order.
- Better enforcement of current gun laws. There are loopholes in the gun laws we have and some people have experimented with how easy it is to obtain a weapon that you shouldn’t be able to. There’s also statistics showing that people who are buying guns illegally are not being prosecuted at a high rate. Project Exile seems to have had good results from making punishments more severe and putting gun possession violations in federal court rather than state by state.
- Parent Resources. There are free programs for early intervention in behavioral problems but parents need to know that they exist and how to access them. Also, everyone needs to know who and how to contact someone if they are concerned about a particular individual or threat. And we have to know that law enforcement will follow up on that.
So yes, this all requires money. And schools already are completely strapped. Teachers are buying their own classroom supplies at this point. We need to be able to take at least a tiny percentage of something like military spending to fix these problems.
In the national debate that has followed the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, much of the focus has been on regulating firearms. But many law enforcement and mental health experts believe that developing comprehensive approaches to prevention is equally important. In many cases, they note, the perpetrators of such violence are troubled young people who have signaled their distress to others and who might have been stopped had they received appropriate help. –https://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/15/us/in-los-angeles-focusing-on-violence-before-it-occurs.html
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