Your turn — Death in our streets and schools

Published 12:50 pm Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Sadly, we continue to hear of shootings all around our nation. I wish that there was a solution so simple, but there is not. The issues are complicated with no simple and easy answer. Guns have been part of our society longer than the nation has existed.

Hollywood stars weigh in with righteous indignation, while they employ armed security. Some of these same actors continue in movies and television shows in which the stars, good and bad, use weapons indiscriminately shooting at each other. Rarely do these programs show the agony of pain of being shot. Rarely are the heroes even wounded, and by the next week they usually have fully recovered. These shows are on every night. Do these actors have the slightest concern about the effect these shows are having on young people? Do these actors ever refuse to accept these roles?

Some politicians see absolutely no conflict with demanding more laws that prevent citizens from taking action to protect their families, while they surround themselves with security details that are armed to protect them.

WHAT DOES NOT WORK

Every state has passed laws preventing guns on school property. This sounded like wise policy, but the statistics tell a different story. When a nut job wants headlines, they have increasingly gone to schools where they know there will be no guns available to prevent a catastrophe. A better solution would be to have, at the very least, tasers or other methods to fight back. Knowing that a school has protection would make them less attractive targets.

Some cities and states believe that, if given cash, everyone will turn in their gun. This is extremely naïve. In recent weeks, Richmond and Portsmouth city governments announced such buy-back plans. They did this in response to recent murders in their cities. They lack the ability to understand that increased violence murder rates often result in citizens buying weapons to protect their family. They have no understanding of this sense of survival.

Telling others what to do while doing the exact opposite seems shallow to me. It is past time to consider solutions that might have serious effects. Carefully profiling who and why this is happening is the best starting point.

WHAT MIGHT WORK

We know that the mass shooters tend to be males in their late-teens or early-20s. When we pay attention to the many signs of problems, we see a pattern of antisocial behavior. Rarely do these individuals go from normal to killers in one step. They began their evolution years earlier. Our current system lets them fall through the cracks. When an after the fact investigation occurs, neighbors and acquaintances come out of the woodwork with tales of odd behavior that has gotten worse as the individual got older.

Our school system is set up in such a way that if a problem arises at one grade level, it rarely, if ever, follows him into the next grade level. An issue that arises in elementary school does not follow a student into middle school and high school. Reconsidering that policy, if professional services or law enforcement were alerted earlier, at the very best, they might have been able to confront the root of the problem. Or, at worst, law enforcement would be on the alert to individuals to watch for abnormal activities and on social media.

No one wants unbalanced folks having a gun. Having the above track record would raise concerns and additional investigation should that person try to purchase a weapon. Additionally, family members should be warned in writing that buying a gun for a family member who uses it to break the law can be charged with aiding and abetting the criminal act.

RETURNING TO VALUES

Will this stop all gun violence? Of course not! There have been disturbed people in every time and age. However, we evolved down into our current situation as many abandoned church and stopped teaching the values of our faith, both at home and in our schools.

Those of us who were raised in the church and insisted that our children attend regularly usually find those values learned in the church have carried us and them into respectful lives. Lives that make them solid citizens, giving back and caring for others.

FRANK RUFF JR. serves as the 15th District senator in Virginia. He can be reached at Sen. Ruff@verizon.net, (434) 374-5129 or P.O. Box 332, Clarksville, VA 23927.