The mass killing this week in Parkland, Florida, by a 19-year-old troubled young man undoubtedly hurts the arguments and intentions of law-abiding gun owners everywhere. Unfortunately, if reports are true, this case gives those clamoring for gun control space and momentum because of several failures of what is expected with current laws now in place.
For instance, law-abiding gun owners assume that there are sufficient background checks, since they themselves have to answer to whether they are mentally ill and so forth on forms before purchasing firearms. In this case if the shooter had never been declared mentally ill by a court and if nobody connected the dots between one stray comment on a YouTube account that prompted an investigation by the FBI and a comment on the shooter’s Instagram account which CBS reported resulted in an alert to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office a year before the purchase of the gun, the argument that there are cracks in the system has legs.
As a responsible gun owner, I don’t want people like the shooter being able to attain high-powered rifles. That is not to say I want gun control, but I think responsible gun owners assume that the papers we fill out serve a purpose and someone who is a potential threat would be flagged.
When the Left automatically attacks the NRA they’re attacking law-abiding gun owners who don’t want people like the Parkland shooter getting a gun either. If we could cut through all of the lightning rod hysteria and address the problems — and there are a plethora with this case — perhaps we could do some good.
Hysterical Pro-Disarmament Influences
Like clockwork, pro-disarmament forces within the country seek to destroy the reputations and humanity of law-abiding gun owners. The “you want kids to die!” hyperbole is tiresome and unethical. Taking guns away from everyone is not a solution. Calling Republicans murderers with blood on their hands is unacceptable. Nobody wants another crazed shooter and nobody wants children to be targets.
All law-abiding gun owners want their right to possess a weapon for self-defense. Anyone who makes a threat to use a weapon to kill people is deranged. Anyone who stabs innocent people is deranged, and anyone who uses a vehicle to purposely kill people is deranged. So are people who strangle others, use homemade bombs, and so on. These non subtle attacks on our right to possess firearms don’t work.
See something, say something
Immediately after the shooting, authorities, including the president, offered some version of “see something, say something.” Yet, in this case, according to reports, we see that many people did just that. There was an FBI contact, a contact of the sheriff’s office, student’s concerns, teacher’s concerns, an email that went out to school staff, and so on. The FBI in this case has even admitted that they dropped the ball on a tip from just one month ago. Yet it does no good to lecture people after the fact when it seems many opportunities were not explored.
If in fact we want the “see something, say something” approach to work, it would seem a report must be made every time something is said. Again, we assume those reports would be on a record of the person obtaining a gun. Yet, perhaps a “you don’t want this on your record” warning is given to avoid paperwork or responsibility. When there are rules, we can’t afford to have people avoiding them.
You can see how this failure plays into the Left’s argument for universal background checks, the argument against which, is that there are too many false positives. Sure, if the FBI flagged a “Nikolas Cruz” from the YouTube comment, every Nikolas Cruz in the nation would be flagged, and that’s not what we want either.
We have the right to bear arms in this nation, and with that comes the necessary education about those arms. We have allowed generations to be afraid of guns rather than to be educated on them. Education flattens fear and if this unmistakeable key were taken seriously and not fought by teachers unions and partisans, we could have a discussion about the need for regulations for those who are problematic.
There will never be a more important time than now to figure out what to do with the disturbed. Report after report held the shooter as someone with serious mental issues. Nobody wants someone with serious mental issues to obtain weapons. Yet how we use discipline in today’s society is far more lax than in decades previous. Are schools and some parents using magic discipline pills for fear of lawsuits? Some would say yes, and for many years now prescription discipline has quite possibly hurt more than it has helped.
Local assessment of the mental state of those within the community would be helpful. Did the school do all they could do in this case? We don’t know. But far from the “he seemed like a normal guy” assessment after the fact, which would suggest someone never let anyone know about his intentions, this case is the opposite if reports are true. In our communities, we should be able to handle people who stick out like a sore thumb like Nikolas Cruz.
After a shooting like this, it makes it harder to make a case against armed security. However, local communities will have an impossible time looking for funds. Teachers are affected by school shootings along with students and there should be enough teachers out there who finally say that it is time they have some security as well. But will their unions pledge to help pay for it?
Once again, those who live in the locality of the school would be the best to defend it. Resources need originate from the local level so that parents know exactly where the money is going and to whom, and school boards could have a resource to be able to monitor, flag, or otherwise discipline problem children. Every school in every locality is going to be different, and that is why it is up to local communities to bring these concerns to the attention of their schools.
Tragedies like the one that occurred in Parkland have a tendency to bring a community together. We’ve seen irate parents cursing out the fact that the school was not protected. How do we make sure our kids are safe inside school walls? It would seem there are plenty of answers if we took the opportunity to look.
Jen Kuznicki is a contributor to Conservative Review, a blue-collar wife and mom, a political writer, humorist, and conservative activist, a seamstress by trade, and compelled to write. Follow her on Twitter @JenKuznicki.