THE EYES HAVE IT – Another mass school shooting –Are there potential solutions?

Every school shooting is tragic, including the recent massacre in Uvalde, Texas. Predictably, politicians and pundits are quick to politicize the issue to suit their personal or political agendas, while not offering any thoughtful analysis or potential solutions.

Despite President Joe Biden’s assertions, mass shootings are not exclusive to America. The worst 5 mass shootings worldwide occurred outside the US, as did two-thirds of the worst 50. Clearly mass shootings are a global problem.

Assault weapons, an ill-defined description for scary looking firearms, were banned in the 1990s. Despite the ban, the Department of Justice noted that other types of guns replaced “assault weapons” as the firearm of choice for wanton shooting and murder. After all, criminals by definition are undeterred by laws.

What is not being addressed? Consider mental health, and the deficiencies in this aspect of American healthcare. President Kennedy addressed this problem 60 years ago as, “among our most critical health problems,” and little has changed since then. 

A Stanford University study found that among 35 mass shooting cases in the US over the past four decades, 28 of these shooters had mental health diagnoses. Inpatient mental treatment has given rise to outpatient therapy which may be insufficient for many. How many potential shooters are out there? How many of the ever increasing homeless also suffer from untreated mental illness? Unfortunately, this is not a governmental or societal priority.

Mental health care costs money, which as a country we don’t have, except when we do, as in $40 billion we recently sent to Ukraine. Could that money be better spent at home?

What about other safety measures for schools such as a single point of entry to buildings, fencing, metal detectors, or hardened classroom doors? After 9/11, did we ban air travel and airplanes, or did we secure cockpit doors and screen passengers?

Retired law enforcement or military members could be hired as school guards. Select teachers could be trained and armed, similar to air marshals on airplanes. An armed civilian this past week stopped a potential mass shooter at a West Virginia graduation party, but this story will receive little media coverage as it doesn’t advance the gun control agenda.

Labeling schools as “gun free zones” invites shooters who know there will be no one offering resistance. Will additional laws make a difference? Murder is already illegal so it’s unlikely that any additional laws will be heeded by criminals. 

What if government officials and the media took a more thoughtful and reasoned approach to these national tragedies rather than the typical knee jerk responses, hackneyed excuses and failed solutions?