7 Things We Can Do to Prevent Another School Massacre, Without Violating the Second Amendment
We all know there is something wrong in our land. Desperately wrong. The recent massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., is just another example of how the soul of our nation is rotting. There were heroes in the shooting, of course. The people who were gunned down were innocent and much loved by their families. But down deep we all know that something is wrong with our nation ... and it is only getting worse.
What is the problem, and how do we address it? Can we even solve the problem once we diagnose it? Are we even ready to face what will not work and what just might work? We now know that several things had been going wrong for quite some time, and all these wrong things finally erupted in a "perfect storm" of bloodshed last Wednesday.
We know that law enforcement knew about Nikolas Cruz, but did nothing to stop him. The FBI knew of his aberrant and potentially violent behavior — his postings on social media — and did not follow their own protocol to address the imminent danger. They admit this.
We also now know that local law enforcement was called to Cruz's home some 39 times in the past seven years!
His fellow students uniformly report that they knew that he was dangerous. They knew that he was fascinated with guns and with killing. They knew he made online threats. Yet, there was NOTHING that the police could do?
Here's what we do know, so far, about this young man:
His father died a few years ago; his mother died this past November. Did his parents or other family try to get him help for his mental illness? We don't know. But it does seem to me that enough people knew he was unhinged, yet he never got the medical help he needed.
Then there is the school district. The people who write policy for the public schools in Broward County may have been very well intentioned when a few years back they re-wrote policy on how to deal with troubled and violent students. According to their "PROMISE" program, they wanted to reduce the number of students begin charged with crimes for minor offenses.
They wanted to cut down on the "school to prison pipeline." So instead of calling the police for things like vandalism and assault/battery and hauling people to jail, they tried the counseling approach. Here is the "matrix" that they use when dealing with problem students. Notice that for issues like fighting, harassment, bullying, and vandalism, the answer is counseling, something called "restorative justice," "developmental assets profiling," and "assessments with coordinated social skills lessons."