Dame: Dem solution to school shootings easy to explain, won’t solve underlying problem

by Paul Dame

Just a few weeks ago we had another tragedy where a murderer was able to gain access to a school in Uvalde, Texas.  There is still a sense of shock and frustration about what happened, and many questions left unanswered.  There are the obvious questions specific to this incident, like how did the murderer get inside the school? Why did police do nothing while the murderer was inside? 

But there are also deeper questions that we have to ask ourselves about the broader story.  A story that goes back to 1999 and Columbine High School.  It was the first mass school shooting to capture national attention. 

A lot has happened since then, but not much has changed.  Unfortunately, similar events unfolded at other schools in the following years.  There have been 15 deadly mass shootings (which the FBI defines as having 4 or more victims) in the 20+ years since Columbine. 

Paul Dame in Brandon

“Every time there is another shooting the pressure will mount making it harder and harder to resist until one day we snap like Australia and throw away our rights for lack of a better alternative.”

– GOP Chair Paul Dame

And every time a murderer makes their way in to the school the next day Democrats are on TV to belittle the moment for “thoughts and prayers” and whip out whatever gun control legislation they have on the shelf.  They act as if the solution to school shootings is to either take some guns away from all people, or take all guns away from some people.  But if that approach will help, how did this trend of school shootings START in the middle of the 1992 assault weapons ban? There must be something else going on.

This is a fundamental flaw in many solutions that Democrats often champion.  They always have a solution that is simple to explain, but rarely addresses the underlying cause.  It has the characteristic of “feeling” good, without objectively “doing” good.

But even if Republicans are right when we point this out – we can’t stop there.  I stand with every other Republican who thinks the phrase “Shall not infringe” in the second amendment is pretty clear.  But if we don’t come together to offer real solutions, then we are going to be stuck in this playback loop over and over again.  And every time there is another shooting the pressure will mount making it harder and harder to resist until one day we snap like Australia and throw away our rights for lack of a better alternative.

If Republicans are serious about protecting our second amendment rights now and for the future we need to get serious about addressing this issue, and engaging in new conversations to find new solutions.  I don’t have the answers.  But we need to start asking the right questions.

The first question I have is “What is happening in our schools?”  It seems like the pattern for these mass murders often involved a young white male, usually under 25 who often kills a family member first, and then heads to school.  Why?  That is the million dollar question.  Why are they going to their school?  What happened at their school that has filled them with such rage that they literally become mass murderers?  What were the conditions like for similar young white men in the 90s (and before) that created an environment where this didn’t seem to happen so frequently?  Is it the parenting? Society? School culture?

I honestly don’t have a lot of answers – but that sometimes means those are the best questions to ask if we want to get the understanding of the issues needed to get to the root of the problem.  Clamping down on guns without addressing the underlying issue just means that we should be prepared to see the same kind of aggressive behavior, but without access to guns it may manifest itself in unexpected ways we are not as prepared for.

But in the meantime while we address the root cause, or at least learn how to better identify the people who are most likely to be affected by it, we ought to take a look at our schools.  While the idea of putting a gun in the hand of every teacher is obviously a foolish non-starter, we ought to think about how we protect our community’s most valuable asset: our children. 

No one wants our kids to get normalized to entering a school that feels more like a prison.  Stationed armed guards, police, metal detectors, bag checks all seem to be measures that are antithetical to the fourth amendment and I don’t want my kids to be conditioned that they have to give up these rights to access education.  But are there non-invasive ways that we can make it harder for threats to physically enter our school buildings?  I think that there are, and thankfully my kids go to a school that have taken these precautious.  But many kids do not.  As much as Republicans want to be careful about spending while still in $30 Trillion of debt, I think giving our schools the equipment upgrades needed to protect our kids is something we can all make room for in the federal budget.  And while I might only speak for myself, I would be willing to prioritize that over a lot of other things we spend federal money on, including the military.  Republicans could make a good case that protecting our children at school might be one of the most important national “defense” strategies we have.  Not only would this protect our children from an angry gunman, but also would-be bombers, gang members, drug dealers, sexual predators and child traffickers.

I don’t have all the answers, and neither do the Democrats, despite their blustery confidence.  But I do know that if we are going to actually fix the problem in America, it is going to take Republicans being unwilling to merely cross our arms and simply say “No” and instead to do the work necessarily to start getting real answers to some of these underlying issues if we want an effective and enduring remedy to the problem of mass school murders.  If we offer no better solution, then people will eventually fall for the impotent remedies offered by Democrats.

Categories: Commentary

20 replies »

  1. THE cure for national violence

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  2. The first answer to this national problem is for politicians to stop blaming the people who are not responsible for these horrific crimes. NRA members are not shooting up schools or anything else. If you are thinking of banning anything, it would have to include cars, trucks, knives, bats, bombs, airplanes, etc, etc.

    Pandering politicians looking for votes from the sheeple, dusting off the gun control playbook to avoid dealing with a problem they started by legislating GUN FRRE ZONES and advertising where a criminal can safely commit murder without being stopped by a good guy with a legal gun.

    We all know the problem is the degradation of our society, lack enforcement of criminals who are in the revolving door of catch and release. The Burlington shootings demonstrate the reality that felons who should be in jail are dealing drugs and are on our streets carrying illegal guns. Most of them are not Vermonters and none of them are NRA members. But, let’s ignore these facts and go after law abiding people who owns guns.

    When they take legal guns off the street and out of the homes of good people, the criminals will wreak havoc on more people, invade more homes and murder more people. And, how does all that protect the children in schools? Mental health, Mental Health said twice so maybe it will sink in with the people who would rather waste money on trying to heal a healthy planet instead of healing our sick society.

  3. there was an article r/t past 20 years since Columbine and the increase in mass shootings, particularly schools. the theme was about the shooters; had attended the schools they then devastated with bullets, and why these young men felt the need to kill a parent/family member and then go to the school. And I’m thinking yes DANO, society has seemingly gone to hell in a handbasket……and I believe it starts early; in school. how education has changed has alot to do with this, from antipsychotics for “behavioral children to curriculum. I think 20 years …2002, my boys were in school in 80’s/90’s/early2000’s (big age diff) and I didnt like what I saw in public school then; and though I couldn’t afford it, I made it a priority to send them to alternative schools (private). I am not blaming education or any one in particular certainly parents have a roll and family or lack there-of but i STONGLY believe our public education system needs a shake up, and not like we are seeing now; this would involve teaching budgeting (math) science, reading (read to them for them to read), writing (including cursive and thank you notes ect), home economics, pe, and the MONEY needs to FOLLOW the child. Parent CHOICE for their children …this would create COMPETITION which is completely lacking in our system as is…….and thus improved education. I am a gun owner, hunted from childhood thru birth of 3 boys (who are all hunters and gun owners, 1 is retired military, other 2 work the land). I gave up hunting as i am not in favor of Vt F&W policy (deer from middle Oct-Middle Dec…too early, too long; deer need to prepare for winter too)…..another story……..
    anyway the issues start in my opinion much much earlier than is being given thought……

  4. Fix the Rigged 2020 November 3rd Election! If your “selected” official won’t agree that the November 3rd, 2020 Election was Rigged, then you know NOT to support him/her.

    End Child/Adult Trafficking! If your “selected” official does not speak about ending this horrific, evil, then you know NOT to support him/her.

    Justice must be upheld, America is a Constitutional Republic! Do not be fooled by distractions from the Left or the Right, as they are one Uni-Party!

    Most importantly: 2 Chronicles 7:14

    “14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

  5. I have never heard any Democrats say that they have all the solutions to our country’s gun violence. Schools need to take measures to protect themselves, and most have done so. However, focusing only on schools ignores the problem. It doesn’t address how to stop mass killings in supermarkets, shopping centers, movie theaters, churches, synagogues, and concerts.

    With 80% of Americans in favor of a number of gun reforms, Republicans had better realize that they are on the wrong side of history.

    • John, there are 22,000-gun control laws currently on the books. These are federal, state and local laws. Why is it that people can’t understand that criminals do no care about laws and do not get their illegal guns from firearms dealers. The statistic you quote is false. Current polls after the last two mass shooting revels that 55% of people do not believe more laws will do anything to stop criminals. Do you really believe that a few more laws added to the 22K laws already passed will do anything to stop a criminally insane person from killing innocent people. Your solution is no solution. The problem is the lack of mental health facilities, lax enforcement of existing laws and not putting criminals in jail. It has nothing to do with republicans as democrats and progressives empty the jails, try to defund the police and refuse to close our southern border. Wake up!

      • Thank you Dano for addressing the real problem. I believe there are more like 30,000 anti gun laws in America. But you can bet the next one will solve all the problems.
        I’m waiting for cars to be banned because of drunk drivers. If punishing law abiding Gun owners is necessary, punishing lawful drivers seems to be the next logical step.

    • John, you and so many others throw around platitudes like “we need to do something…NOW!!!” and casually use the term “reform” but typically stop short of proposing specific measures. What specific law would you propose that you feel would significantly reduce the frequency or severity of mass shooting incidents, short of abolishing the Second Amendment? How about enforcing all Federal gun laws to the letter, before we impose additional restrictions? That HAS NOT been tried before.

  6. The solution to the problem, one which no other civilized country faces, is complex. There is no ONE SOLUTION. Dano quotes 22,000 gun control laws.. I don’t know his source, but I will not challenge it. Rich suggest enforcing current Federal gun laws. I AGREE, but that is not enough.

    Other PARTIAL solutions:

    1. Universal background checks with states sharing their data.
    2. Mandatory gun training classes for new gun users similarly to what the military requires for its soldiers before they are issued a gun.
    3. Raising the age for purchases of guns to 21.
    4. Extending the waiting period so that agencies can adequately perform background checks.
    5. Universal red-flag laws.
    6. Limiting the number of rounds for magazines.
    7. A critical discussion as to the capabilities of an AR-15. (They are not needed for shooting prairie dogs, raccoons, or pigs as mentioned by three U.S. senators. When an 8-year old girl, killed with an AR-15, could only be identified by the sneakers she wore, we have a problem.)
    8. Publishing photos of victims killed with an AR-15 to sensitize deniers as to the nature of the problem.

    None of the above will solve the problem entirely, but they could begin to save lives.

    By the way, I am as U.S. Army veteran and a supporter of hunting advocates.

    • I would not have a problem restricting the purchase of semi-automatic firearms to those 21 and older PROVIDED THE VOTING AGE IS ALSO COMMENSURATELY RAISED. After all, we have all heard that the pen is mightier than the sword. Since a motor vehicle can also be used as a dangerous weapon, any vehicle having a horsepower rating of more than 50HP and/or a fuel tank that allows for traveling more than 100 miles on a fill up ought to also be restricted from those under 21. Purchasing propane tanks of more than 20 pound capacity should be limited to those 21 or older, and only after a background check reveals no arson convictions.

  7. The 2nd amendment isn’t about hunting.

    The 9th circuit court ruled that the age of majority is 18 and laws restricting firearms sales are unconstitutional to 18 to 21 year olds.

    Background checks are only as good as the information in the data base. Each day in America produces new data. States and the military do not update every day and some states are extremely lax at reporting.

    Red Flag laws are unconstitutional if they lack due process under the 4th amendment.

    112,000 people were denied gun sales due to background checks. 12 people were prosecuted for lying in form 4473 making it a felony with 5 years in jail. The DOJ went after 12.

    Limiting the number of rounds in a magazine is also unconstitutional according to the Heller Supreme court decision. Firearms and magazines are of one unit. As an Ex-military person, you should know the benefit of standard mags. A home invasion of 3 bad guys and you have 10 rounds to their 90 rounds because criminals don’t follow the laws.

    Criminals do not get their guns from licensed dealers.

    An AR15 is no different than any semi-auto rifle and underpowered compared to other calibers or a 12-gauge shotgun. Some states restrict the use of an AR15 for deer hunting because it’s underpowered.

    The bottom line is, none of what you suggest will pass constitutional muster and would not stop criminally insane monsters from killing. This is an old list that the democrats dust off to bring out after each tragedy to disarm Americans and that’s not going to happen. And how does any of this protect schools that are known and advertised as gun free zones? Everything in your list is geared toward the law-abiding people who are not responsible for these horrific shootings. The term criminal stands for people who disobey laws and do not care how many laws are passed. Shall not be infringed is not too hard to understand. You took an oath to defend the constitution, remember? The Bill of Rights is not from pandering government politicians, they are natural rights that do not require permission or a license.

  8. To Rich: Linking age requirements for gun purchases and voting is a diversion. They are two separate issues. You also reference that a car can be used as a dangerous weapon. I am not aware that anyone has used a car for mass killings as we just had in Buffalo and Evalde.

    To Dano: I agree with you that red flag laws must include due process to protect Constitutional rights. As to your comment that “an AR15 is no different than any semi-auto rifle”, you are either misinformed or deliberately trying to deceive. Have you ever seen the effects of an AR-15 on a human body? Some of the children killed in Evalde could only be identified by the shoes they wore as their bodies were so mutilated and their heads blown off? Is this the world we have to accept so that individuals can feel safe from home invasion?

    • My comment about the AR15 being no different was referring to the semi-automatic action not the result of being shot by one. What do you think someone shot in the head with a 12, 20 or 410 shotgun would look like? You are deflecting the reality that by passing laws to control law abiding gun owners somehow criminals would not get guns. You are using the emotional side of this horrible crime to disarm Americans who are not responsible. Do you honestly believe that criminals would no longer have access to firearms under your proposals? And, how does taking guns away from good people stop criminals? We made drugs illegal too but 100,000 people died recently from fentanyl coming from China through our porous southern border. No one wants children murdered, but showing pictures of mutilated children won’t stop criminals either. What about mutilated children hacked to pieces in the whom, would that stop abortion doctors from applying their horrific trade? Get real, John. Emotions solve nothing and criminals could care less about how you feel. The reality is that Americans have a right to be armed and that’s not going to change. Hardening schools and eliminating gun free zones will put would be murders on notice that they will not be able to accomplice their horror without resistance from a good guy with a gun. You are a typical democrat who reacts to horror with feelings. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

      • PS John, Former certified firearms instructor who’s not misinformed or trying to deceive anyone. Facts and knowledge over feelings usually get much better results.

    • More deflection John, I explained my statement and you refuse to answer important questions. Anyone who is killed by an illegal act is horrible especially a young child. It doesn’t change the fact that people will kill if they are deranged or crazy. You would have to be crazy to shoot and kill a young child. However, it is the authorities who are at fault because this 18 year old was troubled and everyone in his circle knew he was a walking time bomb. In fact, the school administrators tried to groom him as a transgender. He was a loner and he shot his grandmother in the face before going to the school. And just like the Parkland mass murderer who was also ignored and had 49 visits from the police to domestic problems at his house, he was ignored by authorities. It’s not the gun, it’s who’s holding it and pulling the trigger. I do not own an AR15 but there are 20 million of them legally owned by law abiding people. In fact, according to the FBI’s crime report on deaths more people are killed with knives than guns and more people are killed by fists than all rifles combined. I know none of this matters to you and you still refuse to understand that criminals do not care about your feeling. Mental health is the driving factor and these monsters who fall through the cracks due to the failures of authorities to stop them before they act.

  9. Talk about deflection! You refuse to acknowledge that an Ar-15, designed for one purpose, to kill, is vastly more destructive than a knife or one’s fists. It is time for a national discussion as to whether we should follow the lead of many civilized countries who have outlawed the sale of such weapons.

    By the way, did you or did you not read the doctor’s report?

    • None of your civilized countries have a Bill of Rights. 100 million people were killed in the 20th century by governments who had disarmed their people. Have you ever seen the damage a shotgun can cause to a human? Did you know that 11 teenagers die every day from texting while driving? Should we ban smartphones because they are not used responsibly? Did you watch the testimony of the woman in congress I posted? What about Chicago, NY, NJ, Baltimore, Detroit and all the other liberal cities with draconian restrictive gun laws that are murder capitols and where ordinary citizens can’t defend themselves from felons and gangs that roam the street killing? You are fixated on an object when the problem is criminals and mental health. Should we ban every semi-auto rifle in America? Who’s going to collect them or come for them. Are criminals going to turn them in to the police? Are you concerned about 60 million babies aborted before and after birth? Obviously, trying to reason with someone fixated on feelings cannot comprehend the aftermath of what you and yours propose or what the answers are so you cling to the object, the rifle and the people who are not the problem just so you can feel good about yourself.

  10. I respectfully suggest you take some time to reread the events leading to the writing of the Constitution as well as the Second Amendment. James Madison & Company’ could not fathom the advancement in technology when the Second Amendment was written. To think they would approve of the possession of AR-15 by the general population is an insult to these great men.

    I fully support the Second Amendment as it is written. Anyone should have the right to possess a muzzle loading musket should he/she wish to do so.

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