by Lee Williams
My heart sinks every time I see breaking-news graphics announce another school shooting. It’s like a gut-punch – the lost lives, the suffering of the wounded, the horrors the First Responders must encounter, and the families that will never again be whole.
The blame and blood-dancing usually start before the bodies are even recovered. The talking heads call to ban or further regulate firearms, magazines or accessories in common usage, as if the contents of my gun safe located thousands of miles from the crime scene somehow played a role in the killings.
Politicians will gleefully announce new infringements, none of which could have prevented the mass murder, but that is never their intent. They were eagerly awaiting another opportunity to do something that will score points with their base and their donors, as well as disarm law-abiding Americans.
Keep in mind that more than three-times as many people die each year from excessive alcohol use than from firearms, yet no one is calling to ban bourbon or vodka, because the booze-ban industry died on Dec. 5, 1933, while the gun-ban industry sputters on. Their misguided efforts have no chance of ever stopping mass murders because they are solely fixated on banning an inanimate object, while ignoring the person pulling the trigger and those who help facilitate the crime.
In my humble opinion, if we truly want to stop school shootings we should harden the staff, not just the buildings, and we should focus on the other bad actors, too, not just the trigger-pullers. It’s time to start holding parents, law enforcement and the legacy media strictly accountable – criminally, morally and very publicly – for aiding and abetting these preventable deaths.
I guarantee more parents will take an interest in the websites their children frequent or the videos they’re downloading the first time they see other parents charged with accessory to murder. They will ensure their firearms are safely stored when they see other parents arrested for aiding and abetting. They will take a sudden interest in the video games their children are playing, or pay attention to significant changes in their behavior once police start making arrests for what is the ultimate in criminal neglect –allowing a child to commit mass murder.
Nowadays, children are bombarded by stimuli completely undreamed of by previous generations. Some are good, but many are very bad, if not pure evil. As a result, parenting requires more vigilance than ever before. This is a fact, but it’s not an excuse. Today, if a parent ignores obvious signs their child needs help, allows unauthorized access to weapons and lives are lost, they should pay for their mistakes in prison.
How many mass murderers have been known to the FBI or local law enforcement? Most of them. These killers usually have a long history of indicator crimes, which often go completely ignored.
Law enforcement needs to improve how they track potential mass murderers.
Years ago, a few forward-thinking police departments formed career criminal squads. It was their job to follow and hound to death the truly bad hombres who were responsible for a majority of the crime. These units were effective. The civil libertarians hated them, but the bad guys soon tired of the frequent contacts with law enforcement and straightened up or moved on. It’s time to resurrect this model.
Officers today need to understand if they encounter a potential mass shooter or even suspect someone might fit the profile, their responsibility for the safety of the public doesn’t stop when their shift ends.
That’s exactly what happened with the Parkland murderer, whose name does not merit mention.
Law enforcement had 39 contacts with this soulless demon in just seven years. Each officer took a report and moved on. No one took any responsibility, including the FBI.
After this mass murderer posted on social media his goal was to become a “professional school shooter,” an FBI agent asked him a couple questions – over the phone – and that was it. The FBI’s investigation ended. So much for Fidelity, Bravery and Integrity, the much-ballyhooed essence of the FBI.
In a perfect world, agents would have interviewed this hellion in his home, searched his room and seized his computer, phone, journals and, of course, any weapons he had access to. The feds should have made him their top priority. He threatened to shoot up a school! Instead, he was hardly a blip on their radar. This pattern of ineptitude has happened over and over again at every level – federal, state and local.
Everyone with a badge in their billfold who encounters a potential mass shooter should be fired if lives are ever lost because they failed to act. That is how serious law enforcement should take these individuals. This reprioritization should be inculcated throughout the entire department. If an officer can’t handle the added responsibility, they should quit. The stakes are too high to allow anyone to fail.
The same standard should apply if law enforcement fails to act during a mass shooting. Parkland and Uvalde taught us the high price that’s paid when cowards don a badge and gun. Police are issued tactical gear for a reason, and it’s not to loiter around a school hallway playing games on their phones while children are being murdered a few doors down. Unfortunately, there’s no way to identify or screen for cowardice until it’s too late.
Strict accountability is the only way to ensure law enforcement takes every encounter with a potential mass shooter seriously. A lack of time, resources or manpower can no longer serve as an excuse. After all, how could any other law enforcement mission be more important than tracking suspects who could potentially murder kids?
How many times have you heard cable TV news actors speculating about a possible motive after a mass killing?
These murderers are crazy. That’s the answer. They don’t have a real motive. Their actions are incomprehensible. There’s no way for a rational mind to truly understand the actions of an irrational one. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop the legacy media from mindlessly speculating, since mindless speculating is what they do.
The media often defaults to bullying as the cause of the carnage – as if every kid who’s ever bullied picks up a gun. Unfortunately, once it’s repeated too many times, some children start identifying with these mass murderers, especially if they’ve been bullied or have other problems fitting in.
Combine this with 24/7 coverage – including the murderer’s favorite websites, games and even music – and the media has successfully given the killers a near cult-like following, which is exactly what they wanted, and the deadly cycle is bound to repeat itself.
If the legacy media had never named the Columbine killers, much less described how they dressed, what they wrote in their journals, and who they listened to while plotting their murderous assault, they could never have inspired other troubled teens to commit similar barbaric acts. Countless lives would have been spared and hundreds of families would not be grieving today. There’s no debating that.
This is not a call for censorship. The last thing we need is more government intrusion into our lives. Instead, it’s time for some self-restraint by the legacy media.
It’s very easy to hold the legacy media accountable for overblown coverage of a terrible tragedy. Simply change the channel. If enough of us do, they’ll get the message, eventually. It will take time. They’re somewhat of a thickheaded bunch.
Nowadays, school administrators have focused on hardening their facilities, not their staff. Regardless of how secure a school campus is, Uvalde taught us that a determined maniac can always get in. Legislation that would allow teachers, staff and other volunteers to arm themselves – regardless of their state of residence – would save lives.
Another option that is operating with great success in Florida is the School Guardian Program. School Guardians are not police. They’re not School Resource Officers. They don’t teach classes. They’re not responsible for discipline or counseling. They don’t have office hours or other distractions. They’re only responsibility is to shoot bad guys who want to harm kids.
Many of Florida’s School Guardians are combat veterans. They’ve proven they can use deadly force when it’s required. They’re issued a plate carrier, a handgun and a carbine, and are trained (certified) by local sheriffs. They take their jobs extremely seriously, and they’re easy to spot. They patrol outside the school in the morning as kids are dropped off, and in the afternoon when they’re picked up. So far, no school with a Guardian has been attacked.
Gun-free zones have always been magnets for mayhem. It’s time to end this, put politics aside and protect our kids.