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Failing To Protect Our Children

Remember when talking about school safety meant cross-walks and crossing guards? Today’s talk on improving school safety centers on reducing the number of school campus shootings. The chart below displays the number of shootings, and resulting deaths and injuries, by decade from 1930 to March, 2018. A shooting in this data is defined as the discharge of a weapon on school grounds.[1]

 

 

The number of shootings began to increase in the 1950’s, and the number of deaths and injuries in the 1960’s—and both continued to increase since that time. Yes, the number of guns per capita have gone up during this same time, but it takes someone pulling the trigger to shoot another human being. In fact most of the shootings until the 1960’s involved only one or two people. It wasn’t until the 1966 University of Texas massacre.

 

What changed? The early 1960’s is when prayer and the Bible were taken out of our schools. Morality was removed from our education and replaced with human secularism. The truth doesn’t change as God doesn’t change. However, human culture does change and those changes are never good when we turn away from God. He leaves us to the results of our decisions when we turn away. The human era of ‘Peace and Love’ turns out to be false, because without God there is no love. Funny how things happen when we turn away from our purpose.

 

We can look at this data in another meaningful way. The table below shows the same data by presidential term, an indicator of how effective each president’s policys were in effectively reducing campus shootings. The data shows annual shootings and deaths trending up through the Carter administration, then dropping during the Reagan administration before starting to trend upward again. The number of shootings each year more than doubled during the Obama administration and remain at that level during the first year of the Trump administration. The current administration inherited a significant problem from its predecessor. We’ll see if President Trump is able create policies which reduce, instead of increase, the problem.

 

The Broward County program which reduced police presence at a school with significant drug activity and violence only masked its problem. This program served as the inspiration for the Obama administration’s PROMISE program regarding school discipline. The Broward County program made the school’s numbers look better without solving the real problem, putting the children there at greater risk.

 

Most liberal suggestions to solve the problem revolve around removing guns—yet again taking rights away from law abiding citizens without addressing the real issue—because criminals won’t obey the law. If someone is intent on doing another harm, they will illegally obtain a firearm or simply use another weapon. Focusing on the weapon doesn’t resolve the problem. Instead we must address the behavior of the person using the weapon.

 

Laws are supposed to promote the common good, but to do that they need to be effective—promote justice—by addressing the underlying causes and not the effects. Ineffective laws are not laws, but rather a pretense and mockery of public service, and almost always lead to tyranny. The left’s use of school children to promote their political ideas in this instance is particularly monstrous.

 

The President released his school safety policy proposals recently which included:

 

  • Passing laws aimed at keeping guns away from dangerous people (such as the current Fix NICS and Stop School Violence Act)

  • Allowing teachers, who want, to be trained and allowed to conceal carry at schools

  • Improving gun purchase background check procedures

  • Directing law enforcement and ex-military personnel into education

 

Not a bad first step on the surface, but it will depend on the details. Laws aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of those who are a danger is a reasonable action. However, there are at least two problems with this approach, both related to improving the background checks and laws determining the criteria for passing such a check. First, many felons currently do not get put into the database, and therefore are allowed to purchase guns they shouldn’t have in the first place. The same is true for some of those adjudicated to not be fit to own and carry firearms. Some of these also don’t make it into the database, and are allowed to purchase firearms they should not possess. The bureaucracy has shown itself ineffective in managing either process.

 

For the second problem, we can use the terrorist watch list as an example. There have been repeated cases of the wrong people being placed on the list, and they have had great difficulty in having their names removed. Why? Because there is no due process. Another lose of rights. The government again is just not a very effective organization. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work to remove the problems, but it does mean we shouldn’t needlessly throw away our rights when those are not the real issue. Indeed government exists to protect our rights instead of taking them away. It’s kind of like having a baby that doesn’t care for a bath, but instead of finding a different way to bath it you just throw the baby away and ask for another one instead.

 

Keeping school children safe is the issue, it is the good we should create. There are at least four things we can do to help with achieving that goal. Some are in the administration’s recommendations.

 

One, get rid of the politically created gun free zones. The President has argued for this action, and he’s right. These zones have created killing fields. As noted above, criminals don’t care about the law, or obey it unless it furthers their goals. Therefore, creating gun free zones are actions which increase the risk, they make students less safe. Criminals will go to a place that maximizes their chance for success, and a place where people can’t defend themselves is ideal for using violence.

 

Two, the police can’t be everywhere. They rarely stop a shooting from occurring. The most they can do is either end one, or investigate the crime after the fact and track the killer(s) down and bring them to justice. We need to acknowledge that our safety is primarily our responsibility. We are our own first line of defense. School personnel and students need to know what to look for, and take actions when they see something that doesn’t look right. In addition, they have a right to defend themselves and should be allowed to do so.

 

The police will do all they can, but we must realize that they will seldom keep a crime from occurring. Adding security to “harden” a target may help some, but only if the police are always present, and they happen to be at the right place at the right time. I won’t even mention the cost. The approach is helpful, but not a very effective solution. Being able to defend yourself leads to the third recommendation.

 

Third, allow teachers and administrative staff, who wish, to be trained and permitted to conceal carry. Teachers care about their students. In fact, several have put themselves in the line of fire in order to protect them. They’ve voluntarily chosen to lay down their lives. Why shouldn’t they be given the chance to save those entrusted to their care?

 

Fourth, a recent study indicates that 70% of all school students experience bullying, either social or physical abuse. The social abuse should not be lightly regarded as there have been several cases of suicide as a result of such bullying by other students. This is a complex issue, and there has been some analysis on mental health related issues. That is all well and good, but the prevalence of bullying in our schools is symptomatic of another underlying issue—unless we have a significantly greater number of students with mental problems than in the past. If that is the case, then why? What’s changed?.

 

Many of our children today don’t have a firm moral grounding, because it has been removed from our education system and discouraged by our culture. A better approach would be to remove government from education, so that morality can be taught. A child’s education is the parent’s responsibility, not the government’s.

 

This lack of morality is amplified by the way in which technology is used in our schools. The technology itself is not bad, but the way it has been implemented generally is. It can lead to brain development simulating the effects of drug addiction. Coupled with gaming (including school’s use of educational games), pornography, and social media use; it is a real problem that most of our school district’s refuse to acknowledge. More information on this issue can be found in Brad Huddleston’s book, Digital Cocaine.[2]

 

The use of social media and the on-line bullying taking place is dreadful, and the fault for this rests with the students themselves. Our actions push others toward either good or evil. When someone engages in bullying, they are planting the potential seeds for another human beings destruction by showing hate instead of love to their fellow students. There is no excuse for it. It goes without saying that it doesn’t happen all of the time, but students should not tolerate it at all. Students are the only ones who can change their behavior, and they are responsible for their own behavior.

 

As just mentioned, many schools have a problem stemming from technology use their administrations don’t want to acknowledge. They bury their heads in the sand, hoping it will pass. The Broward County school program reducing police presence to address their problems, by using school personnel instead, is only one example. Teaching in the public schools has largely become an issue of just following teaching module plans. The thing is that students are all at different places in what they understand and learn differently. Such cookie-cutter programs as are now in use simply dumb students down to the lowest common denominator. We’ve spent trillions of dollars on education since creating the Department of Education, and most metrics have gotten worse or barely remained the same in that time.[3] This view of education comes directly from human secularism.

 

A significant percentage of some shooters were either bullied or bullied others.[4] They were marked by students as outcasts. They were victims too. I’m not excusing their actions. They made their own choices. However, those bullying others have helped plant the seeds for their actions. We reap what we sow.

 

We should all agree that actions taken to make our children safer are good. But we should only take actions that can actually address a problem’s cause, and make things better by creating good. The Obama administration’s ‘transformation’ only leads to more death as it removes God even further from the public square. This ideology must be removed to change things for the better. We have the truth, and we have the evidence, but will we put our desires out of the way in order to submit ourselves to Him?

 



[1] List of school shootings in the United States, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_school_shootings_in_the_United_States#1840s. Accessed March, 2018.

[2] Huddleston, Brad, Digital Cocaine. Can be found at http://bradhuddleston.com/shop/digital-cocaine-a-journey-toward-ibalance-book.

[3] Wolf, Dan, pp. 129-158, Collectivism and Charity, living rightly publications, 2016.

[4] Langman, Peter, Statistics on Bullying and School Shootings, 2014. https://schoolshooters.info/sites/default/files/bullying_school_shootings_1.1.pdf. Accessed March, 2018.

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About Dan Wolf

Dan WolfMy goal is that my writing will help you to get started on your own journey of discovery, or help you along the way on a journey you may have already begun. Our Founders considered education, religion, morality, and virtue to be the cornerstones for any successful society. Being successful requires understanding both the languages of reason and faith; reason alone is insufficient.