My Personal Side

By Craig Hastings
Here we are again, another school shooting so we all are standing around and talking about how to prevent the next one. I think key to preventing the next one is to stop talking about the last one. I’ve been subjected to four days of constant opinions and how to from the experts and politicians who line up to get on television. The media’s recruited experts tell us how to fortify our schools virtually turning them into semi-military encampments while our elected officials rant about who’s to blame and how much money should be thrown at the problem as though money can stop this.

This Santa Fe, Texas High School reportedly has nearly 1,400 students attending and an undisclosed number of faculty staff. By Douglas County school populations this is huge, but elsewhere around the country this would be considered one of the smaller campuses. There are many diverse campus property layouts. What might help prevent the next attack in Santa Fe probably wouldn’t work in Nashville, Tenn. I’m sick to death of experts and politicians addressing each of these attack locations as though the fix to all is one in the same except for the amount of cash needed to fund each one.

These guys and gals make for great television (I watch too!), but at the end of the day, and there are many days devoted to each location, nothing has been accomplished. Nothing that we’ve been able to see as of yet. And I think the reason is the same reason as always; there isn’t an absolute fix that can be reasonably made. Educated experts that have been studying the problem for decades travel across the country recalling the events of the tragedies and offering their best solutions to school boards and school administrators willing to listen. Politicians most affected stand at the podium and blame each other first and after their done criticizing their opponents, they promise to fix something they have no idea how to fix.

Even if by some miracle our federal, state, and local governments found enough money to post armed guards outside of every classroom in every school in America this idea of masterminding plots to kill many people in a public arena will not stop! The problem will simply move to another public place where a lot of children gather at a certain time each day of the week. For instance, this time of year we have going on outdoors in Tuscola; Little League baseball games, soccer games, public swimming pools, and outdoor festivals. Any of these events would be much easier to bring multiple weapons to and wreak more death and injury on the attendees than any school function.

In fact, could a deranged killer have better odds of dropping more people at one of these outdoor activities than inside a school? I’m going to say “yes” because it would be my job to stop the mayhem at any of these locations, and I believe I could definitely more quickly bring an end to the killings inside a school building as opposed to most any outdoor event. The likelihood of escape is much greater outside than inside and closing the distance between them and me would be much quicker inside a building(s).

I think these last two shooters absolutely planned to survive their slaughtering of fellow classmates. This kid from Santa Fe made some statement to authorities about trying to commit suicide afterward, but I don’t believe that at all. He wanted to live in order to see himself all over television and secure a place in history for himself. He certainly accomplished that! And if I was one the security experts for hire, being paid generously to bring proposals to Congress, my focus wouldn’t be on how to put more guns in and around our schools. No, I would suggest to Congress they should work with teachers associations and psychologists and figure out what’s going wrong with this generation of citizens/students. Is it starting at home? Does it evolve in school environments as students pass through their 12 years before graduating?

I’m not so old that I don’t remember my high school years. I’ve always had compassion for people even if I didn’t really care for someone. This holds true for people who had done something to me I didn’t care to have endured. I never wanted or even thought about taking someone else’s life in high school. These killings are random victims in most cases. These are not one student going to school with a gun to shoot one teacher because the day before they disagreed about something. These are not one student killing another student because the victim student stole his girlfriend or knocked his books out of his hands the day before.

For now I guess the best patch is to get armed adults in schools so to prevent as many deaths as possible. Armed adults will probably be able to lessen the amount of injuries but, others in the building will probably die or be injured. If these events ever become team efforts to kill then probably the armed adults will be targeted first to keep them from interfering. And this my friends is the biggest threat yet. If these killer kids bring multiple players to this game because they know there will be armed resistance, many more are going to die than we’ve seen so far. I think America is taking the wrong approach by throwing armed guards at this as a permanent fix. That will never fix this social problem.

People much more brilliant than me need to figure what has gone wrong in the brains of our American youth. I think there has to be a curriculum, ongoing all twelve years, designed to teach children the importance and value of human life, including their own. Children need to learn early and often just how many people are affected with the death of one of their friends or family members. They need to know early and often the sorrow, suffering, and tragedy it brings to any of us when we lose someone we love or count on for our own survival. Finally, they must understand and be reminded by actions how important they are to those that love them and count on them each day.

So what is that a first or second grade student can be told that lends them to believe they are important and part of the family’s survival should they be taken away or worse, die. I know all families are different and what goes on behind closed doors is what we choose. But, I can tell all of you without hesitation that my sons truly understood how important they were to me in grade school, middle school, and now high school. They know how important they are to me and my survival and how devastated I would be should they do something as crazy and cruel such as planning to take the life of someone else. Sadly I work in a profession where I witness the breakdown of the family unity and the children are left to fend for themselves. How do we get to these kids before it’s too late? If we can’t figure out how to step down the breakdown of American families, will this mayhem ever stop?

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