Reactions to yet another killing on a school or college campus fall along predictable lines of division.
It’s the gun culture’s fault. It’s bad parenting. It’s lax security on our campuses.
It’s a result of an entertainment media culture that celebrates violence and disrespects life.
It’s what you get when don’t invest enough in identifying and treating emotionally disturbed young people.
Or, perhaps, it’s a combination of things. Perhaps every person who holds to a single explanation for these killings is only partly right and, by that definition, at least partly wrong.
Shades of gray and a sense of shared responsibility have a place here.
There should be no quarrel that every effort must be made to keep assault-style weapons out of the hands of troubled young people — whether this is a parent’s role, a seller’s obligation or a law’s edict.
But the very nature of these violent acts does not argue for tighter gun controls for adults in general. The neighbor you know, who chooses to own and fire a weapon while hunting or at the shooting range, is not the perpetrator or cause of these crimes. Those wanting to restrict his or her rights will need to look elsewhere for ammunition.
Parents who are not engaged in parenting, a popular culture that celebrates violence, an educational setting that tolerates bullying — all of these also should be concerns for those who want to tamp down violence on our campuses. And right behind ending the killings, we must aspire to give disillusioned young people hope.
Resources available on our college and school campuses, along with other services available to everyone in the Midland Empire, can make a difference. Counselors, clergy and the staffs of Family Guidance and The Center are prepared to help. Mentors with the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, YMCA and Big Brothers Big Sisters want to be a part of the solution.
Further, if you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis, or exhibiting behaviors that could lead to a violent act, there is immediate help available.
Anyone in our two-state region can call the information and referral hotline staffed 24 hours a day by AFL-CIO Community Services in St. Joseph. Call (800) 365-7724 or (816) 364-1131 or log on to helpmenow.org.
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