An ounce, a pound and a ton

Published 2:52 pm Thursday, May 24, 2018

We all should be praying for those who have lost family members to senseless deaths at too many schools. Those families and communities will be scarred forever. The old adage is an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In this case, we need to add that that ounce is worth a ton of pain and suffering that these events have wrought on these families and

Frank Ruff Jr.

communities. Some of the things that should be part of the discussion are listed below. Let’s consider some of the issues that have played out in the news media.


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The first response from some like Jimmy Kimmel is that we must change the Constitution and repeal the right to own a gun. Others say we must ban certain types of guns such as an MR-15 assault rifle. A number of years ago, the solution seemed to be that we could solve the problem by simply banning guns from schools. As if someone that wanted to harm children would turn away from a school when they saw a sign outside the school telling them they could not bring a gun to school. I would suggest that those that believe this is the solution review how successful prohibition was during that era and how successful the fight against drug use has been in the last 50 years. The fact is that guns have been part of American society since long before our founding. To take rights away from the law abiding is not the solution.

Security in Our Schools

Some believe that we should have more law enforcement in each school with or without guns. Others would rely on fences, door locks, body scanners and cameras. (In Virginia, most schools have some combination of these). All of these would have some value. It might protect that school from havoc, but it does not prevent the same individual from targeting another location. Likewise, as we have seen, each relies on human actions that may or may not prove vigilant. People tend to fall into patterns. Those that want to cause problems will learn those patterns and work around them.

Discipline and Home Life

Some think that we simply need to return to earlier generations when we had better discipline at home and we had two parent households. This would be great, however, getting the genie back into the bottle probably will only happen in our dreams. Clearly, having two loving, caring parents would make a difference in many cases, however that alone is not the only solution. My father died when I was 12. Our home had guns, and yet I never considered shooting anyone. These are not the only issues that cause problems with our young.

A Better Solution

We work hard to quantify how a student is progressing in their academic schoolwork, yet we do not do so in cases where anti-social activities occur. When one teacher has a situation in elementary school that event usually is informally passed on to the next teacher. This usually does not end up in the student’s official record, therefore, the middle and high schools rarely understand who to watch more closely. We should consider formally tracking anti-social activities to better understand who needs help earlier and provide services before they act out later. This will not solve all problems but it might protect some in both our schools and out. That ounce of prevention would better serve costs later.

Frank Ruff Jr. serves as the 15th District senator in Virginia. He can be reached at, (434) 374-5129 or P.O. Box 332, Clarksville, VA 23927.