I’m guessing that many of us, myself included, never heard of Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Unfortunately with the horrific event in Parkland, Florida, I now know that beside having a high school named in her honor, she was an American journalist, suffrage advocate, and conservationist, passing away in 1998 and living to the ripe old age of 108, far longer than any of the students and teachers on that eventful day.
Much has been said about what to do to make sure this doesn’t happen again elsewhere like it always seems to do. Some want to use this as an opportunity to move towards erasing the Second Amendment (A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed), while others want to turn our schools into fortresses; heavily protected or impenetrable buildings. Most folks have probably gravitated to one camp or the other. That’s usually how it works nowadays.
School shootings are not new. Does anybody remember 1988 when 30-year old Laurie Dann shot and killed an 8-year old , while wounding five in Winnetka. My earliest recollection of a school shooting was in 1966 when Charles Whitman climbed to an observation deck at the University of Texas and within a 96-minute shooting spree, he had killed 17 while wounding 31 people.
In fact, the earliest recorded school shooting in ‘America’ occurred in 1764, at Enoch Brown School in Greencastle, Pennsylvania when one teacher and nine students died. If you Google ‘when did the earliest school shooting occur’, it will take you to a list from that date to Stoneman Douglas. If you scroll down it will take you 105 seconds to get to the bottom of the list. So this is not a new phenomenon. It’s been happening for a long time.
It seems like people are looking for a quick and easy answer, which typically involves throwing more money at the problem, rather than dealing with the cause. Watch and listen as Tucker Carlson , chats with Matt Bevin, the Governor of Kentucky, who some think including myself, nails the issue.
A good friend of mine, who graduated from pharmacy college the same year that I did (career number two of four for me), went on to med school. He vowed he was not going to be a ‘prescription mill’ doctor; a doctor that treats symptoms rather than causes. About ten years later we got together for dinner, and I asked him if he was able to do it. He said, ‘no’. He learned that if a patient left his office without a piece of paper (prescription), they didn’t feel like they were getting their money’s worth. Changing eating habits, or exercise, or lifestyles takes more time and is not easy.
A quick easy answer is not always the best answer, but it seems to be the answer most folks want.
The largest mass school killing in US history was in Bath, MI, 38 children killed, 58 injured. In this case no firearms were used. The explosives destroyed half the school. It was later discovered that the other half of the school was spared because the explosive on that side had not gone off, as well as the explosives in the car parked in front of the school that was intended to take out first responders and parents. The perpetrator of this act kill 5 other people that day before killing himself.
And one of the most memorable of these school attack, Columbine (a sister school to the high school I graduated from) the attackers also used explosive to kill and injury. In this attack as well most of the explosives did not go off, which again included a car parked out front.
I am of the belief these acts speak to a mental health crisis in our country. When I say mental health I am not taking about people with clinically diagnoses mental issue so much as people with emotional issues that they can not resolve that results in them taking out their anger and frustration on others. Best example I can give is road rage.
Mr Pollack, who lost his daughter in the Stoneman attack, has been repeatably interview on what he thinks needs to be done. His simple wish is for schools to become safer, he does not say how, but he does say he does not want this to devolve into a debate about gun control.
I can understand his position, in every other mass kill in this country the discussions has devolved into a debate about gun control which dies down and nothing gets done. There are things that can be done to make the schools safer that have nothing to do with gun control and it would be a shame if once again none of this things a pursued became they are marginalized by a gun control debate.
I cannot believe I’m saying this, but I agree with Jim H.!
I guess if we can find a common goal, there’s hope for our country yet.
What specific things are you proposing that will make schools safer?
In recent week we have seen examples of what school districts in Indiana and Kansas have done to make their schools safer. Things like:
**Bullet proof doors that can be locked from the inside but not unlocked from the outside
**Exterior doors that are bullet proof and can only be opened from the inside, controlling entry into the school while classes are in session to a single “front” entry door.
**Interior hallway doors that are remotely locked/unlocked that segment the hall, creating security zones (making it possible to isolate active shooter(s))
**Policies limiting the size and type of packs/bags allowed in school (rifles are large the shortest legally sell-able barrel is 16″ with barrel and breach together at least 26″ – separating barrel and breach on high velocity rifles, AR types, requires a beach vice and special tools)
There are many other options but these are the ones that can be implemented without changing the “look” of schools (a school hardened with these suggestions could not be distinguished from any of the unsecured schools we have today simply by looking).
Although I do not disagree with some of your suggestions, most of what you propose sounds more like building a fortress, or prison. I disagree with the belief that erasing the fact and practice of keeping schools as “gun free zones” will deter more domestic terrorists. Many of these domestic terrorists appear to be embracing a “suicide by cop” behavior. Few “survive” to be questioned on motive. The threat of armed guards, or worse, armed teachers, will likely do little to discourage any individual so inclined to commit mayhem. As stated, there appears to be no fear of the eventuality of death once the dastardly deed has been committed.
I don’t believe that we marginalize change because we devolve into a gun debate. We do not debate. As a result, no significant legal change takes place. I have not seen real debate on the necessity of civilian ownership of a weapon that was designed to maximize human bodily harm and inflict death by virtue of its lethal capacity. Physics explains the science behind this physiological damage. A bullet fired from this family of weapons ( often referred to as AR-15, M-16, AK47 etc) exits the barrel at somewhere beyond 3000 feet per second. This is nearly triple the velocity of most handguns. Recall, F=ma, that is, Force is equal to Mass time Acceleration. An increase in either or both m or a results in more force. Secondly, bullet yaw in this particular round causes much more internal damage than a handgun round. A simple Google search will give more detailed and graphic evidence.
Changes to reasonable firearms laws is not the total answer. I believe it is “part” of the long term solution.
Finally, I checked the website for the upcoming national march for support of the children shot at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas HS, marchforourlives.com. Neighboring communities Downers Grove and Oswego have “registered” to join in the support of this march. I was saddened to see that Naperville is abstaining.