The American public and media deal with tragic and highly publicized school shootings on a regular basis. Understandably, each episode leaves our nation gripped in despair and searching for answers. In search for solutions, we often rekindle the ageless political debate about gun rights that’s hard to resolve. As a result, instead of seeking practical solutions to reduce school shootings now, we often focus on a gun debate that goes on and on.
Regardless of how one thinks about guns, America’s 2nd Amendment makes it clear that Americans have a right to bear arms. This fact alone will make it hard to get the comprehensive gun control some wish for. Also, since some countries with strict gun laws have had horrible shootings, there’s no guarantee that gun laws alone will eliminate threats to our children.
Practical solutions to school shootings come in many forms. And yes, none of these ideas are perfect. As history and day-to-day life show, humans have a creative ability to find loopholes when it comes to being violent.
A viable solution that’s actually being put in practice somewhat is to have police in schools. Although this isn’t perfect, it’s already been successful at times in minimizing violence. Whether the police are stationed at school as resource officers, or as police stationed at the school, the fact remains that having several police at every school could give potential shooters less time to act. If a strong police presence would be combined with minimizing school entry points, school safety should improve. In addition, some schools have had success in using metal detectors to find guns. Therefore, a trained police presence could not only interrupt a shooting, it may also deter.
Another way to improve school safety is to redesign classrooms to allow for at least two doors in every class. Too often, a killer in a school shooting is able to hold a classroom hostage since there’s only one doorway and no escape. Having two or more doors would allow an escape for students and give multiple points of entry to interrupt a shooting.
And finally, there needs to be thought in our high-tech world of designing classrooms with security alerts in mind. Would it be possible to have a button located on each desk that a student or teacher could press in case a school shooter were to appear? This button could send an immediate 911 message to police and staff located at the school in addition to the EMS system as a whole. This alert could give an exact location and save lives by making response times quicker. Other proposals include gun training for teachers who show aptitude with gun safety, and improving intervention with students that show mental health issues.
As for reaching consensus on gun control that both sides could agree on, that may be a long way off. After all, even when Democrats have had political power they’ve shown reluctance to advance a strong gun control agenda. And if comprehensive gun control is ever passed, the full effects of it may take a while to be felt. Therefore, it may be wise to consider concrete solutions to make our schools and children safer now.
America is at a crossroads regarding school shootings. Therefore, the time may be right to advocate a federal program to upgrade safety at all schools. Although such a program would come at a financial cost, this burden could be eased by our use of Keynesian economics.
As opposed to the endless partisan debate about gun rights, a proposal to make schools safer now should generate bipartisan support. After all, a national plan to protect students and reduce shootings could help schools focus on what they should be…a place to learn.
20 thoughts on “Practical Ways To Reduce School Shootings”
It’s good to see the subject of gun control has not left people’s hearts and minds. There are many things in our collective socioeconomic behaviors that, considered individually, are difficult to justify, and en-mass. absolutely psychotic; a form mass delusion. Drugs, guns, automobiles, household chemicals, choices of food, entertainment, and education are all considered expressions of our individual freedom and right to choose.
However, an individuals right to extend their arm, ends at another’s nose. Physical and economic proximity have always impinged individual rights, as the greatest good for the greatest number. Greater good principles are the essence of any healthy governance. What makes our Judeo-Christian democracy hypocritical is our pathological deference for individual rights. Pathological, because we are protecting individuals that are preying on our women, children and our environment. We defend the mechanisms used by the most perverse, in the name of individual freedoms. And in an oxymoronic irony we are unwilling to treat others the way we would want to be treated and instead, we demonize the individual while celebrating the mechanisms of deliberate destruction.
In all of this, one glaring fact continues to stare us in the face,
a lack of education fuels a lack of citizenship.
It is this lack of belonging that motivates a great number of these heinous acts . A lack of participation in democracy is not freedom, it is to consign oneself to enslavement. Selfless protection of the greater good, is true freedom. Do the do-gooders still need to watch out for bad guys? Of course. But promoting the greater good should make bad guys, and the mechanisms that made them, what they are, an anomaly, not a demon, but a lonely outlier of good society.
To provide for the common defense and assure the health, safety and welfare of it’s citizens, is a governments mandate.
Our founding fathers provided for the right to exercise freedom of religion, of speech and of the press, and for states to have a well regulated militia. Nothing in our constitution gives individuals the right to disregard the health, safety or welfare of their fellow citizens.
Quite the opposite, we have an ordained responsibility as humans, as Christians, as Americans, to serve and protect our way of life, which is, as a nation, not as an individual.
Our founding fathers did not curb these individual choices because they were confident that individual morals would provide the necessary constraint. The loss of these individual morals means an external form of regulation, in the form of government, must be enforced, and we’re right back to the need for education.
So, I agree with you Perry. Whatever the cost, with better buildings, the presence of trained support personnel, supportive neighborhoods that could rally a defense or provide safe shelter for students in an emergency. We need to make public education the highest priority in our democracy. If we stand together we will prevail. if we stand as individuals, we will perish as individuals.
Hey Tom…this is an incredibly deep comment that adds much to the discussion!
By looking to the goals of our Founding Fathers + their understandable belief in the power of “The Social Contract,” you hit upon an important point that often gets missed. This point is that morals form an important part of maintaining the underpinning of a “Social Contract” + are therefore a barometer on society.
Unfortunately, morals are often thought of as absolutes + are sometimes looked at with disdain in modern society as being a relic of a bygone age. However, as you + I know, this isn’t true. Quite simply, whether one has moral failings or adheres to morals very strongly, the concept + the basis of morals, whether they be Judeo-Christian or secular, gives all of us a starting point to rally around as we seek to be guided by a “Social Contract.”
And as we all know, since moral failings can sometimes be addressed with the power of redemption, the fact that some have moral failings shouldn’t make us cynical about the power of morals. Morals have validity simply because they help point us in the direction of maintaining “The Social Contract.”
Regarding gun rights, its obvious that we need to look in America at gun control not just from a legal perspective, but from a moral one. Your point that someone’s right to extend their arm ends at another’s nose is well taken. What’s often missing in the debate about guns now is simply the question of what’s driving many disenfranchised young men to break ‘The Social Contract” by shooting their fellow classmates.
In looking for the reason why this happens it’s obvious that the breakdown of the family + morals does play a part. Therefore, many of these young disenfranchised killers have given up hope on dealing with their problems morally within the framework of “The Social Contract.”
As for schools, we’re at a point where none of us want to receive the call that their child’s school has had a shooting. And like you, many of us are getting past the point of listening to endless polarizing political discussions that maintain things as they are.
If we can provide more protection for our children at school now…we need to find the ways to do it.
Thx for the comment Tom!
Thx so much Keith! I’ve been enjoying your blog posts also.
Thank you for reading, Perry. I have check out your work as well. Courageous post in these volatile times.
Yeah…there are no totally easy answers on this topic out there. My main feeling now is that we have to do what we can to protect the kids while they’re in school everyday. If we adopt better security measures, there’s a good chance that we can nip some of these shootings in the bud. Take Care Keith + thx for following!
Likewise Perry, thank you for the stimulating conversation. As you said, we definitely need to find the reasons why young people are giving up on the social contract and acting in such abhorrent ways. Along with the presumption of everyone having a moral core that is the basis of our social contract, often over looked is the mechanisms of laws and their application.
One structure, is rule by exception, permitting anything, except where prohibited. This is seen in promiscuous natural systems and allows for great variation; allowing random chance to succeed by trial and error. Capitalists love this, and I’m sure some of our founding fathers did too.
The other system of legislation is to rule by permission. You can only do something if it is permitted. Again, using natural selection as an example, almost every aspect of living systems, especially in replication, are ordered, and this defines the very taxonomy of species. In chemistry, physics and math, there is a clear ordered hierarchy to nature that gives all things boundaries.
So again, our morality is a presumed constant that regulates every individual to act in permitted ways, and those who would choose to be ruled by exception, would also be those who need rules place upon them.
Yeah Tom…both rule by exception + rule by permission offer much to think about in terms of trying to understand how humans interact morally. And yes, those who are ruled by exception definitely need to have rules placed upon them.
In relation to morals, it may be good to recognize the power of redemption as something necessary for their survival. If we devalue the idea + power of human redemption, morals may indeed have a hard time surviving. After all, redemption gives most of mere imperfect mortals a chance to try again if we’ve failed to live put to moral standards. 🙂
Since Post-Modern thinking may look at morals as quaint + old-fashioned, there’s a good chance many people are now giving up on them. This indeed may be part of the reason why the young men that commit these horrible crimes are acting as they do. Since the power of moral redemption appears foreign to them, they have hard time forgiving both others + themselves for moral failings.
Thx for the dialogue Tom!
Late to the discussion……
Based on stats, from 1993 to 2013 gun deaths decreased from 7 per 100,000 to 3.6, a 50% decrease, although there is indication of an increase since 2013, but nowhere near the 7 per number. So is violence decreasing while at the same time greater controls have been imposed on gun ownership and even more are being argued for…..?
Traffic fatalities have also decreased over this time span, with their numbers now are roughly the same as gun deaths. Here, the inanimate object is not, nor has ever been, blamed as there is no serious discussion on banning the use of personal vehicles…..
An older study (late ’90s) indicated that federal inmates sourced their guns from retail outlets only 15% of the time, but at 35% through criminal activities. So will greater controls on or even outright bans of guns keep them out of the hands of criminals or just disarm an increasingly vulnerable people…..?
More police protection at schools. The last two school shooting incidents had some police protection on site but didn’t really help. Architectural responses have some common sense – more timely alerts, better locks and lockdown procedures, increased egress, etc. So would turning our schools into armed camps, more police, more armed teachers, better fortresses, be the right answer…..?
It seems our society is diseased, and anything that might relief the pain of it but not cure the underlying issue, only allows that disease to fester, perhaps controlled, but not eradicated.
And even there, the causes of the disease are nebulous? Is it an epidemic of depressions, and the resultant over-prescription of pharmaceuticals to alleviate, once again, an effect with little understanding of the cause, let alone the unleashed side effects of the drugs themselves? Have we allowed a postmodern world with few, if any cultural or moral guidelines and structure to curb undesired behavior? Has conflict resolution returned to the dark ages of “might makes right”? Have we progressed individualism to such an extent that there is no longer a shared culture, “we” no longer exists, and satisfaction of the “I” is all that matters, and immediate at that?
Tough questions. But they need to be addressed, openly discussed, and some social consensus needs to be realized…….or plan for much more and much worse.
Good to hear from ya again PJ!
Thx so much for the statistical background on this issue. And yes, as the stats show, the amount of press given to school shootings can be considered somewhat disproportionate when one looks at comparing the situation to personal use of vehicles. Like you say, there isn’t a push to ban vehicles even when they’re clearly dangerous in ways. Also, it is telling that gun deaths did decrease for a while. And yes, even though the police in schools idea doesn’t always equate to stopping a killer in the tracks, it does work at times.
Like I said in the blog piece, there’s no perfect solution. However, that shouldn’t stop us from looking at practical solutions to keeping children safer at school.
As to why the school shootings are getting so much press, it’s obvious that many people aren’t looking at this from a purely statistical point of view. To many, there’s an intense visceral disgust with the idea of a young person stalking classmates at school + then brutally killing several of them for slights perceived, or as retribution for taunting + other acts of cruelty that the killer suffered.
And finally, I wholeheartedly agree that we need to discuss the issues that are creating a situation whereby so many young men are giving up on the social contract + morals. Sadly, these young killers not only destroy other’s lives, they also destroy their own life as well as the lives of their family + friends. Such a sad scene.
Like you said…we do need to look long + hard at whether the anti-depressants + other medication given to children + teenagers is actually making things worse.
Thx for the thoughts PJ!
Hello Perry, you have made some really good points. But schools should not become prisons. The problems in the schools are not the fault of our schools or our youth. The problems are in the minds and hearts of people. And each successive generation falls away from God and adheres to the things of and in our ever changing, confused world. I have no answer for the many problems that evolve around this issue. One thing for certain, is that, if we don’t choose God, we are going to catch more hell than now. The choices between good and evil clearly depicts that God and goodness are best.
Thx so much for the fascinating comment America On Coffee!
Yeah…on one hand I can see your point about not wanting schools to become fortresses with a prison-like feel. After all, much in life is lost with such a rigid approach. Personally, I look back fondly on my school experiences insofar as there was freedom within the campus to come + go. Even when I attended an inner-city school for a year there was a fair amount of freedom without many problems.
However, since the spectre of school shootings seems to be increasing, it seems that there’s now a trend to tighten security.
I agree with you that ultimately all these social ills can be traced to the hearts + minds of people. Unfortunately, we live in a time when the belief in God-a higher power, is frowned upon by many. The ones that frown upon the belief in God often think of it as a quaint concept. However, the irony with this kind of thinking is that sometimes these very same people turn to a dogma that’s sometimes even more intense than religion as a replacement for belief in God. We saw this kind of thinking occur under communism.
I agree with you that there’s a place for God in modern life.
Here is an easy solution: Have more armed staff at the schools.
Yes, having more armed staff that are trained in the use of firearms, whether they are police, police trained as resource officers, or even highly trained staff members, is being looked at as a means to improve school safety.
Thx for the input!
Perry Casilio, even though this post speaks of school shootings, it galls me to no end how politicians use mass shootings as a political tool to cal for gun confiscation. What are your views?
Nice to hear from you again Ragnar!
Yes, I do agree that the politicization of the gun debate has been used by many Liberals to chip away at gun rights. And yes, there are cases where outright confiscation is hinted at as a goal.
Personally, I believe that the 2nd Amendment is a part of American life + should stay intact. After all, there are other countries in addition to America that have strong support for gun ownership. And in addition, there is proof that having strong gun-control measures in some countries does not always prevent mass shootings.
As for specific measures that aim to reduce gun violence, I try to stay open to ideas from both the left + the right. For instance, if there is continued insistence on having gun-free zones in many areas beyond just schools, then some thought needs to be given to having a police presence in these areas to lessen the chance of mass shootings.
Regarding forms of gun control on certain weapons, I do stay open to the fact that there may come a time when certain high-tech weapons of a more military-type nature may need to be restricted.
We agree on this.
I agree that the ideas are not perfect however they can be improved upon over time.
Nice to hear from you kind feelings!
Yeah, everything relating to topics such as these is always a work in progress. I’ve been enjoying your blog also. It’s very informative in many ways.
Thank you and much respect to you. I look forward to reading more of your articles.