WASHINGTON, June 10, 2014 — The latest school shooting, this time at Reynold’s High School in Troutdale, Oregon, leaves yet another child murdered, yet another troubled child dead, yet another injured person (a teacher) who was just able to escape the killer’s intent, yet another group of parents grieving their loss, and yet another candle-light prayer vigil.
We have some difficult questions to ask:
Would enhanced gun laws or outright gun bans keep children from killing?
Will putting weapons in schools — from armed guards patrolling the halls to teachers who practice open carry — stop these killings?
Will enhanced mental health awareness and mental health screening of children find these children before they kill?
Will Obamacare pay for Americans to line up for mental health screenings?
Would a mental health screening have stopped Jerad and Amanda Miller? These were the “Revolution” shooters in Las Vegas who killed two police officers, Alyn Beck, 41, and Igor Soldo, 31, at a CiCi’s Pizza before taking their rage to Walmart. There Joseph Wilcox 31 confronted Jerad Miller, and was gunned down by Amanda Miller.
(Warning: This video is unsubstantiated as being Jerad Miller, and it is very disturbing)
Is this a political issue or a societal issue?
Do Democrats do America a disservice calling for a rewrite of the Second Amendment, or Republicans do America a disservice by claiming those same Second Amendment rights sacrosanct?
There are disturbing things about every act of violence. What is disturbing now is that these acts of violence barely register beyond a sound-bite anymore.
Since Newtown, when 26 people, mostly children, were killed by Adam Lanza, there have been 74 school shootings according to Everytown for Gun Safety.
This number includes only shootings inside schools. There are also rampages like the one at the University of California Santa Barbara last month that left three students — George Chen, 19, Chen Yuan Hong, 20, Weihan Wange, 20 — stabbed to death, and three more — Veronika Weiss, 19, Katherine Cooper, 22 and Chris Martinez — gunned down at random, on the street.
There was the Columbia Mall shooting on January 25, when Darion Marcus Aguilar went into a busy shopping mall and killed Brianna Benlolo, 21 and Tyler Johnson, 25.
That number does not include the April 2, 2014 shooting at Fort Hood that killed three — Daniel M. Ferguson, 39, Timoty W. Owenbs, 37 and Carlos A. Lazaney-Rodriguez, age 38 — and wounded 16.
A troubled sophomore in Murrysville, Pennsylvania attacked 20 teens and one adult, leaving them all wounded and bleeding.
A 12-year-old Waukesha, Wisconsin girl was stabbed 19 times by her “friends” Borgam Beyser and Anissa Weier, both 12, who were trying to summon the fictional character Slenderman in a Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary sort of way.
Is it access to guns, lack of parental control, a disintegrating mental health system, video games, a sense of entitlement, a bickering political system, an eroding of broadcasting standards that puts violence and sexual violence in front of children?
Is it scary stories on the Internet, or zombies, vampires and paranormal thrill shows on cable and in movies desensitizing our children to horror?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2007 to 2011 the percentage of kids being medicated for ADHD jumped 28 percent. Approximately 11 percent of all children in the U.S. between the ages of 4 and 17 have been diagnosed with the disease that is marked by attention problems and impulsive behavior.
“Based on the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine report (Preventing mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders among young people: progress and possibilities, 2009) that gathered findings from previous studies, it is estimated that 13–20 percent of children living in the United States (up to 1 out of 5 children) experience a mental disorder in a given year and an estimated $247 billion is spent each year on childhood mental disorders. Because of the impact on children, families, and communities, children’s mental disorders are an important public health issue in the United States.”
According to the CDC, it is not clear if there is an increase of children with the disease versus an increase in the number of children diagnosed. What is clear is the increase of easier-to-use drugs being prescribed for the treatment of ADHD.
ADHD is only one childhood mental health disease. There are also behavior disorders, mood and anxiety disorders, autism spectrum disorders, substance use disorders and more — all of which are treated by big Pharma.
(Read the Mental Health Surveillance Among Children — United States, 2005–2011 for more information on classifications of mental health disease and disorders.)
California has made it a crime for parents to fail to “exercise reasonable care, supervision, protection, and control” over their children. This means that in California, and some 17 other states including Michigan, parents will be held responsible when their kids break the law. But what about murder?
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention states:
At least nine States hold adults criminally responsible for storing a loaded firearm in such a way as to allow a minor to gain access.
Some of these provisions include an enhanced penalty if the minor causes injury or death to himself or another person and create exceptions for parental liability when the minor gains access to a weapon by unlawful entry into the home or place of storage or if the firearm is used in self-defense.
In addition, 13 States have provisions that create criminal liability when a custodial adult or parent is aware that his or her child possesses a firearm unlawfully and does not take action to prevent the possession.
Typically, penalties levied on parents for violation of safe storage laws are misdemeanors, but parents found guilty of these crimes in California, Connecticut, and Florida are subject to felony charges under some circumstances.
So what is the answer? More parental involvement? Less Common Core tests and more school programs from art to sports? A more involved teacher, concerned more about engaging the student than protecting their plush union jobs.
The Hill writes:
Schools in communities like Chicago with high murder rates are overcrowded and under-funded. After-school programs and extracurricular activities are decreasing under the pressure of budget cuts. Too often, city parks are dangerous and/or inaccessible. That leaves our most vulnerable children open to being influenced and engaged by other children. And without any adult supervision, the consequences of such engagement can easily lead to negative behavior. It’s true, idol hands are the devil’s workshop.
Taking the place of traditional caregivers are the notorious gangs plaguing African-American and Hispanic communities. Gangs are a particularly difficult problem in Chicago. These gangs offer kids a desperately needed sense of belonging, self worth, adventure, and at the very least, distraction from their present circumstances. These gangs also offer kids guns, crime and murder as a destructive pathway forward.
Headlines labeling Chicago the murder capital of the country compel us to advance new and proven solutions to violence in urban America. I believe that this solution involves the constructive “engagement” of our youth. We need to ensure that every child in this nation that is lacking consistent adult direction has at least one adult in their life who can serve as a positive role model to engage him or her. A highly trained coach-mentor can be that adult role model.
The City of Boston, in 1996, launched an aggressive program to target youth gangs. Streetworkers were hired to talk to youth, including the hard care members of the some of the cities worst youth gangs.
Then they reported startling results, reducing violence in the schools by 20%. Today The Boston Foundation StreetSafe Boston program is a multi-year, $18 million investment into youth development and reduction of youth violence.
The President and Democrats are naïve to think that removing guns from the streets of America, or enhancing gun laws will stop the problem. It may slow the problem, but Adam Lanza’s guns came from his mother. It is doubtful the 16 year old in today’s shooting purchased the gun at Target, or Walmart or Bert’s Gun Store.
Then there are the many knife assaults, not just in the USA but also, most recently in China and England.
We are naïve if we think that just removing guns will stop the culture of violence that we now live in.
This is one of those”‘the message rolls down hill” moments. It starts with children’s leaders. It means we need to enforce the right message, not one of entitlement and privilege, at home, in schools and churches.
It starts with parents and teachers, the child’s first line of influence, being personally responsible for their behavior and actions. And enforcing that personal responsibility on our children.
Or we can just add flak jackets and bullet proof helmets to our children’s backpacks.