Tens of thousands of students yesterday commemorated the
deaths of their fellow students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in
Parkland, Florida. The students expressed
a range of emotion and opinion. Some
expressed in signs and words their sympathy for Parkland, while others said
simply, “I don’t feel safe.” Some called
generally for action. Some called for
specific action such as banning “assault rifles.” Others said they planned to focus on what
they can do within their control by making their own student bodies more
Watching videos of students making statements at protests
one feels that adults have let these children down in any number of ways. Six-year-old children are participating in
active shooter drills in their schools.
Think about that. Many, if not
most, of the children participating in yesterday’s protests have practiced those
drills their entire childhood.
Children should be allowed innocence.
Adults have failed them.
The students’ actions yesterday may raise media attention
But students (children) are not
going to make necessary changes.
should not be relying on children to do what adults should do.
The sorrow and anger that follows events like Parkland is
often seen as a catalyst for change.
that strong emotion subsides for those not directly impacted.
The nation’s attention span is short.
The media has moved on to team coverage of
winter storms, Hollywood giving itself yet another award, porn star
recollections, and March Madness.
We tend to be a nation that seeks fast and simple
We seek the silver bullet
We eat prepared and fast food.
We want a drug or surgery to take care of our
ailments when we know discipline and hard work offer a cure.
We can approve a $45 million school capital
project with the snap of a finger, but God forbid we approve an additional custodian
to maintain that school in the operational budget.
We tend to call out for legislation, particularly federal
legislation, when something goes wrong.
When we are outraged that a federal employee paid $600 for a toilet seat
we do not demand accountability within the federal workforce. Instead, we pass
a federal law that puts $1 billion dollars of bureaucracy in place to prevent
anyone from buying a $600 toilet again.
The slog; the long term continuing process; the heavy
lifting - we don’t like it and we are not good at it.
But that is what is necessary if the
probability of more mass public shootings in schools is to be lowered.
Since Parkland’s mass public shooting there were several
instances of threats against schools.
the most disturbing of these two students had the real potential of executing
A thirteen-year-old boy committed
suicide in a school bathroom in Ohio with a rifle.
Police found on his phone that he admired the
Columbine murderers and he wrote a detailed attack plan for his school.
Why he changed his mind at the last minute
and took only his own life may never be known.
What if he had carried out the plan?
In Vermont, an 18-year-old former
student of a Rutland high school planned for two years to attack the
school. He bought a shotgun and four
boxes of ammunition. His mistake was to
tell a young woman of his plan. She
called police. He too praised the
Columbine attack and thought he might carry out the attack on the anniversary
of Columbine (April 20).
Ask your children’s school if they have plans
for heightened awareness on April 20.]
There is clearly a real and enduring danger of further mass
public shootings at schools.
On February 18, my Liberty Takes Effort blog called for specific
action – passage of an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law in Florida and passage
of federal law to assist all states in implementing ERPO. Blog
readers were given specific contact information to lobby legislators.
Florida enacted the "Marjory Stoneman Douglas High
School Public Safety Act."
short three weeks the state came together to act in response to the horrendous
mass public shooting against innocent people.
The families, legislators, and the Governor are to be applauded.
The federal government is moving toward
legislation to support states implementing similar laws.
Great! But … legislation is not a silver bullet.
Passage of a single piece of legislation is
not going to solve the problem.
problem is complex and multifaceted.
is not the goal. It is only a means to an end.
It will take a lot of hard work to implement the legislation effectively
and the nation’s track record in this regard is left wanting.
There are also additional actions that can be
taken that might have further positive effect.
Much of the reaction to Parkland and the commentary over the
past month revealed a lack of understanding about the complexity of the
issue. Without a common stated goal and
common accepted facts it will be difficult to bring about further effective
The Liberty Takes Effort Blog will in the coming weeks offer
four or five posts intended to create greater understanding to underpin
concerted action that is both effective and achievable.
Required first is a stated and accepted common GOAL to focus
research and action.
To be effective, one must focus like a laser beam on a
specific goal and not be distracted.
well defined and achievable goal is:
PROBABILITY THAT A MASS PUBLIC SHOOTING WILL OCCUR IN A SCHOOL THROUGH
PREVENTION, INTERVENTION, AND DETERRENCE and MITIGATE THE EFFECTS OF AN ACTIVE
SHOOTER SHOULD PREVENTION, INTERVENTION, AND DETERRENCE FAIL.