Guns are sold to people all over the country. They are deadly, but it isn’t the gun that does the shooting—it is the shooter. We could eliminate guns, but that would not stop a disturbed individual from finding a way to kill what they think are the enemy or fighting the battle that is within.
A report was released in June by the Everytown group shows that there have been 74 school shootings in America in the last 18 months.
This is an alarming wake up call for our country. What can we do to stop another shooting from happening? We can pay attention to who’s doing the shooting and the signs that often present themselves prior.
According to Citizens Commission of Human Rights International, 30 of the mass school shootings have been from people who were taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs.
Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old who killed six people near Santa Barbara in May, had been posting odd videos on YouTube. His parents were concerned about him and contacted the police who went to Rodgers house to talk to him. They didn’t send a trained psychiatrist but police officers. They sat with him and inquired about what he was feeling and what was happening in his life. Rodger responded by letting them know he was having social problems. According to the Denver Post, he was a soft-spoken individual who did not exhibit any violent behavior or express to them any immediate threat of violence or self-harm.
Rodgers had been seeing a therapist since he was 8-years-old. The police also didn’t view the videos because, based on the interview they had with him, they felt like he wasn’t a threat. The videos were the entire reason his parents contacted them. They also didn’t check his room. If they had, they would have found his guns and plans for retribution.
We need to take seriously when there is a cry for help. How many times do we have to hear that someone was worried but did nothing? In the Sandy Hook shooting, the teacher of the shooter, Adam Lanza, told the police after the shooting that in creative-writing assignments the young man produced long, disturbing passages. His work was so graphic that it could not be shared, according to a CNN story.
The time to have told the police or at least bring it to his mother’s attention would have been when he produced these creative writings. This was some unintentional cry for help that no one saw.
President Barack Obama gave a speech two days after the Boston Marathon bombings, where he said, “We’re going to address the barriers that prevent states from participating in the existing background check system. We’re going to give law enforcement more information about lost and stolen guns so it can do its job. We’re going to help to put in place emergency plans to protect our children in their schools.”
This is good Mr. President, but you forgot to mention prevention and teaching our society to look for the signs of these shooters in advance. I agree we need to tighten gun laws and make the laws stronger in regards to background checks. But like in the Rodgers shootings, that isn’t always the case because he had not gone against any of the California Firearms Laws and legally owned a gun. Yet the signs were there and they were not seen. It is time to for friends, parents, law enforcement and teachers to stand up and say something. It might just save a life.
California Firearms Laws Summary:
Citizens Commision on Human Rights International
CNN article on Adam Lanza
CNN article on Elliot Rodger
Transcript of Obama speech(from time magazine) on April 13, 2013: