March 22, 2018
The recent school shootings have headlined the news and captured the angst of the nation. Editorials praising the students who are inundating their representatives’ offices and others who have walked out of classes fill the papers and the talk shows. The NRA is vilified as a terrorist organization, and calls for more gun control echo through state houses and Congress. The NRA fires back, reminding us of the myriad of gun control laws already on the books that are ignored by criminals and unenforced by our courts.
I have yet to hear anyone question the inherent racism in all the rhetoric. Minority children are being killed daily in our cities, with no one paying much attention. But when it’s a suburban white community, all of a sudden we sit up and take notice. And all the while, we guard what we value with armed guards at banks, and put up gun free zone signs in schools.
I invested today in a seminar hosted by our county sheriff’s department which dealt with security and safety in churches, including dealing with active shooter situations. The presenter, nationally known and respected for her expertise in this area, related how parents have told her how afraid they are to send their children to school. “Your child is 500 times more likely to be killed in a car accident than in a shooting incident,” was her reply. These stories make the news, but they are far eclipsed by other dangers we accept without even a whimper. This is not to minimize the issue, but to put some balance into the discussion. The seminar went on to show us some of the indicators of predatory violence, and the steps we can take to minimize the risk.
It was a good reality check, and a reminder that while we live in an unpredictable world, there is much we can do to minimize the risk of such incidents, most of which can be summarized in the words we’ve heard dozens of times: “See something, Say something.” The Parkland shootings was a tragedy that was preventable. Those who in response, push for more gun control have recently been ridiculing those who offer their prayers, but prayers and preparedness can do more than another layer of laws, unless those laws help us deal more effectively with mental illness.
I am grateful tonight that while the world remains an often evil place, it is for most of us not nearly as frightening as the media would have us believe, and that there is much that we as ordinary people can do to prevent these kinds of incidents in the future.