Tragically, yet another school shooting occurred today. Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Oregon was the scene of the shooting. Since it happened within the past 2 to 3 hours, details are scarce. The only fact police will confirm is that the shooter is dead.
We know nothing about the person who made a conscious decision to go to this school with the intention of harming or killing someone, but it has been reported that Reynolds High School does not have armed security personnel within the building. Although they do have two police officers on the school grounds, the officers are located outside not within the building where most school shootings occur. If they hear the shots, the officers have to run to the building, determine where the sounds came from and waste time locating the shooter. If armed security personnel were located within the building at various locations, their chances of ending an incident and preventing further tragedy would be much greater.
I believe that any town council or school board members who vote to declare our schools “Gun Free Zones” (You know, a building containing hundreds of children with an implied open invitation to “Come on in and harm our kids. We’ll wait for the police.”) should be charged as accessories to any crimes committed by an individual (or individuals) with a knife, firearm, bomb or other device. Stationing armed, well-trained security personnel within our schools would not invite more incidents such as this. It would discourage them. If teachers were permitted to carry licensed firearms and receive proper training from either the FBI or local police agencies, it would discourage potential shooters from trying. However, that would make sense and we all know those who seek to eradicate personal firearms from the face of the earth don’t have any.
Another issue is that teachers and parents need to PAY A-FUCKING-TTENTION to their kids! Are they much more depressed than the average teenager? Are they angry all of the time? Do they isolate themselves from the family or other kids their age? Are their grades slipping? Do they express anxiety about going to school? A million clues can reveal themselves if you take the time to look. I personally believe that school shootings have very little to do with the gun, and a great deal to do with the mental state of the person holding it. One or two hours a week with a psychologist or psychiatrist could save ten or twenty lives in some cases.
We, as a society, need to understand that there are those who struggle tremendously to feel comfortable in social situations. They cannot relate to people and simple therapy sessions are not enough. Willowbrook is gone and the regulations for in-patient mental health care are much more stringent than even ten years ago. Inspections are more frequent and many times the families have an important role in the care regimen for their loved ones. Why, then, is it so difficult for a highly trained psychiatrist to place a patient in one of these facilities if they feel the patient is a danger to him/herself or others?
Banning firearms is not the answer. There have been several incidents of late in which the weapon has been a kitchen knife. Are we going to be required to register our cutlery next?