Michael Wilcox, Publisher/Editor
I’ve been encouraged to write my thoughts in the wake of the horrific school massacre that took place in Parkland, Florida, and the resulting debates over how it could have been prevented and the need, many of us, say to control guns.
At the get, I believe it is of paramount importance to figure out how to keep our schools safe. School shootings in America have become an epidemic and we need to put an end to it right now. There is nothing worse for us to read about seventeen people, most of them children, being murdered while attending school.
As a parent, I fear for my child. This did happen in Florida, but quite frankly could happen anywhere. I abhor the politics involved in deflecting blame or demanding gun control. This is not a political issue. Protecting our children is the most important objective of any society, and right now, in America, we are failing.
I demand immediately that we stop politicizing the issue. This isn’t an issue that Congress or our President can stop. Yes, they can help, but few new laws are going to stop a mentally unstable teenager from entering a school and shooting until shot. These shooters are looking for notoriety and there is none better than leaving this world as a famous mass killer. At least I believe that is what the deranged individual thinks.
The best way to stop, in my opinion, these death wish mass killers is to have a greater armed presence at schools. I can’t believe I am suggesting this, but I don’t see any alternatives. We have armed guards at most other public institutions, and very few are subject to mass shootings. So why not protect our schools with armed individuals?
The obvious deterrent is more diligence on the part of us all. The mass shooter in Parkland was known by police, the FBI and school administrators as a dangerous individual. The cops had answered calls at his home over 30 times. He had been questioned by the FBI and kicked out of school on a couple of occasions. His social media was fraught with troublesome innuendoes. In other words he was a prime candidate, and no one paid attention.
And then when the shooting occurred, the armed school security guard, a Broward County Sheriff’s deputy failed to enter the school as the shooting was going on. Neither, say reports, did three other deputies that arrived at the scene. Police only entered after cops from a neighboring municipality showed up and saw the need to confront the killer.
Protocol established after the Columbine school massacre demands the first cops on the scene must confront the shooter. That was not done here. If it had been, the possibility that many lives could have been saved is very real.
So again I reiterate here’s what needs to happen. First and foremost we all need to be more aware of our surroundings. In particular, those assigned to protect our children- school administrators, police, the FBI etc. have to be more diligent in ferreting out potential school shooters.
Secondly, people of all political persuasions need to stop blaming one another. If there is one issue in America in which we all need to come together on, it is protecting our children. Let’s put our heads together and figure out how.
Third, an armed presence at schools is a must. Deranged individuals will stop targeting schools if they know there is a possibility they will be challenged.
But along with the armed presence I strongly advocate better background checks. I don’t understand how these mass killers are able to walk in to a gun store and walk out with an AK15 or like rifle. Background checks should not allow individuals that have had mental issues to be able to purchase guns.
Which brings me to my fourth point. Since the dissolution of large mental institutions, mental health has become a bigger and bigger issue. In the past I have advocated greater financial resources to help fix this problem. Today, we simply prescribe pills and send the people on their way. If government really wants to get behind an issue, mental health should be the target. Let’s fix it, and just maybe, many of society’s other problems like mass shootings will go away.