Too many times we have heard, Our thoughts and prayers go out to the xyz school community. So many times, that it no longer feels sincere. Our elected officials send their sympathy and condemn the tragedy, yet nothing changes. The public is horrified by yet another school shooting. On social media one trusted figure said that this is the 100th such incident in 2023. The year is not even 100 days old. If it means the 2022-2023 school year, yes, a longer period, still an odious number. The time is here to demand change. The best way to get change is not just to demand it, but to give specific things that need to change. How do we find these things? We start by looking at the commonality.
In every tragedy, to my memory, the shooter had at least one assault style weapon. Although our Constitution and its Amendments guarantee the right to bear arms. There is no practical purpose to allow such weapons. Owning a firearm that can rapidly fire an incalculable number of rounds is not necessary and was not the intent of the writers of the amendment. In the 18th century, citizens needed those weapons for the defense of their homes. In the 21st century, if citizens need assault style weapons, there are greater issues, and the war may already be lost. There is no practical reason these weapons are available for purchase across the USA. Our law makers need to address this.
Understanding the Right to Bear Arms is guaranteed by the Constitution. There is absolutely no specification that the ability to purchase a gun should be instantaneous. Why not delay access to weapons until a purchaser can be accurately vetted. Yes, it is not instantaneous gratification but if slowing down the process saves one life, is it not worth the delay. This will not prevent someone from owning a weapon if they pass the screening. It delays it. Making this purchase, is something that most gun owners plan. If they know the length of the process it, they can build that into their plans. It simplay makes sense.
The third and final commonality that must be addressed is access to mental health care. In nearly every tragedy, the shooter demonstrated some characteristics that were identified as someone who may benefit from mental health care. Perhaps providing access to the appropriate health care, could help these troubled souls. It seems so logical. Almost every actor was identified with potential issues by someone who could have referred them to get the help they needed. There is no evidence to say that those referrals ever happened. The stigma behind mental health would prevent most from seeking the care on their own.
It is incumbent on society to demand changes. The offering of thoughts and prayers by public officials is no longer enough. Change is needed, but more than crying out for change is necessary. Someone somewhere must develop a plan and present it. What changes are needed? Where are they needed? Here are three ideas to consider. The change can start at any and every government level be it local, state, or federal. We must demand these changes. We must do more to protect the innocents. Offering our deepest sympathy is not enough. We deserve more. The children that have died deserved more. The adults that died deserved more.