Sunday, February 13, 2022

When Our Best Young People Become Collateral Damage to the Nation's Obsession With Guns

This morning, as I read short portraits of the four young people who died in the Oxford High School mass shooting, each of them a leader in their school and community, I thought of not only of the devastating impact of their murder on their family and friends, but of all we as a society were losing by not having them grow into adulthood. Mass murders like this not only create an atmosphere of terror in our schools, they deprive the nation of leaders we need to take us to a brighter future. Some would say the answer to this tragedy is better mental health services in our schools, and of course I agree with them But the major factor making events like this predictable, perhaps even inevitable, is the widespread availability of automatic weapons to people of all ages, in all walks of life, including those with serious mental health issues The young person who killed his classmates at Oxford High School was deeply troubled- he and his parents had been called into a disciplinary meeting at the school hours before his shooting rampage. And some will say that the school didn't do enough to identify and treat his mental health issues or address the rage inside him But as I wrote regarding the young man who murdered his classmates at Sherman Douglas High School in Florida- there are some young people even the best teachers and counselors can't reach, even with the best training and the best intentions Young people with that level of rage, unreachable by teachers and counselors, will wreak havoc wherever they are, but if you put automatic weapons in their hands, they can morph into mass murderers So long as we continue to defend possession of automatic weapons as a key marker of personal freedom, making it easy for teenagers to to acquire them, we are going to have more and more incidents of school terror and mass murder such as took place in Oxford Michigan on Monday That, my friends, is not only a national tragedy, it is a national disgrace

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