Again, we are talking about school shootings. And once again, political pundits bring up the need for gun control. But gun control isn’t going to solve this problem.
As we better understand what makes a disturbed individual shoot down innocent and defenseless people, we will need to make changes on a number of fronts. Multiple interventions are needed.
Enforce gun laws.
In reality, criminals obtain guns no matter the law. That’s why they are called criminals! Arm schools so shooters know students aren’t sitting ducks. Shooters purposely choose schools because students are defenseless.
Pay attention to threats and social media posts.
Maybe it is time to assign a school person to scan social media on a regular basis. Shooters tip their plans to people via social media and comments made to others. Have incentives for peers, adults and school personnel to report possible threats and disturbing comments. People MUST speak up. Better to err on the side of safety.
Use school resource officers-retired police and law enforcement people who will be at schools, get to know kids, and keep their ears to the ground. This strategy has been used by a number of schools.
Teach conflict resolution and how to solve problems without violence.
Discuss the impact of violent solutions to problems. Teachers and parents need to equip students to resolve problems in nonviolent ways.
Know the warning signs.
Identify at risk kids and get them connected to mental health services–this means we need to evaluate our community based mental health programs and their access.
Stop supporting violent media.
It has violent impacts on the developing teen mind, but no one seems to care much about this data. Glorifying violence helps reinforce the sick mind of someone considering violence. Why do we need violent media? What does it feed?
Become friends with alienated kids who appear rejected and troubled. Look for the influence of fathers on alienated boys. All the shooters are males and need strong fathers active in their lives.
News media to start acting like journalists and look at what has worked and failed instead of blindly repeating political messages.
Stop taking God out of culture and vilifying religion.
What transforms the heart of a person? What changes retaliation into reconciliation? Revenge to repentance? A heart change in the most important change that can be made in a teen or adult’s life and yet we are moving more and more away from spiritual solutions to secular ones that promise no change of heart. We are losing our moral compass, creating self-centered, narcissistic people incapable of empathy and care for others. And this should be out number one concern.