The Parkland school shootings stand as a national tragedy. Seventeen lives were snuffed out and fourteen others injured through the actions of a criminal who’s sole desire was to elevate his self esteem. Our heartfelt condolences go out to those students and family members who lost a friend, classmate or sibling.
Where have we gone to as a society? I grew up in a time when an individual of legal age could walk into a store and purchase a firearm and ammunition by simply presenting a government issued i.d. There were no mass killings. If you had a problem with someone at school, it was usually resolved with a face to face encounter behind the bleachers, but what troubles me even more than our current social fabric is the prosaic exploitation of a national tragedy to advance a political agenda.
Readers, if the availability of guns were a valid causation for violence, there would have been mass shootings when I was growing up but there were none that I can think of. What the hell has gone wrong? We have more gun legislation and restrictions than ever before yet we experience these senseless acts of violence. Guns aren’t the drivers behind a behavior that trivializes human life. Enter technology.
Over the years, responsible parenting has been disappearing; increasingly, mothers and fathers have substituted active parental supervision with laptops, PlayStations, and smartphones all of which can either be enablers, or the gates of hell. Social media interactions has replaced human interaction and social media has been weaponized to hurt and malign. It’s become more important to get a large number of likes than it is to develop people skills.
Kids, of all ages are vulnerable because of their lack of cognitive skills to assess and process what they are being exposed to on the world wide web, and without continuous and intrusive parental supervision they are rudderless and vulnerable to toxic ideas and affiliations. Online, unsupervised kids can receive instruction on building explosive devices, identify soft targets, tactics, or even recruited. This is today’s environment. So, how do we protect our most vulnerable from potential carnage?
You do what the Israelis have successfully done, identify and harden soft targets. Restricting guns or gun types are ineffective when the perpetrator can go on Facebook and learn how to construct a pressure cooker bomb. Remember what economics teaches us, when you are hungry and can’t find a hamburger you’ll eat a hot dog – they call it substitution. Substitution is not an excuse it is functional and very real! The change we are looking for does not start with Congress it starts at home with moms and dads.
Our prayers go out to your friends, classmates and families !