Dwight Watt Internet Article #26

#26 - Reactions to Columbine by the Media and Political Leaders 5/21/1999

#26 - Reactions to Columbine by the Media and Political Leaders

It is now been several weeks since the unfortunate Columbine killings. To believe many of the reports in the media many things have happened since, and there are lots of things we need to do, especially banning guns and passing more laws.

Reactions have been many. We have all heard the proposals in the press saying we need more gun laws, we need to stop those under 21 from buying guns and we need to require safety locks on guns. In addition they say we need to put police in all the schools, metal detectors at all the doors and that shootings are a normal thing happening in the schools. We hear guns are killing tons of children by accident annually. We are told we must accept all young people in all groups because they did the killing because no one liked them. I even read one letter saying no one under 21 is mature and responsible enough to handle guns and that they are the biggest threat to youth.

Now what should we do with these proposals? First off, may I point out that that the media reports at least 17 laws were broken by the two shooters/bombers in Columbine that day. Why would new and more laws have stopped them? If the 17 laws did not stop them, it is time to consider another alternative. Maybe instead of adding laws, we need to remove unenforced, i.e. worthless laws, and start enforcing the existing laws.

As far as the proposal to stop those under 21 from buying guns, the media reports the two who did the shooting did not buy their guns. So what would that have stopped? As it now stands it is hard for anyone under 18 to buy one. I would have no problem with a law saying someone under 18 cannot buy a gun, but don't prohibit them using one for hunting or sport shooting. To the one who says you are too irresponsible to handle a firearm under 21, would they suggest the military no longer recruit under 21? Usually they are the ones we want in the infantry dying for us. Requiring safety locks, which I do agree with in storing firearms voluntarily, will help prevent accidental deaths, but it would not have stopped those two. Do you really believe they would not know how to undo a safety lock?

The proposals to put police and metal detectors in the schools sound good, but they would not have stopped this incident and you need to consider the expense. There was an officer in Columbine, but he failed to prevent the atrocity, although he may have helped prevent it from being worse, but there is no way one officer can cover 2000-4000 students. Metal detectors sound good, but they must be at all entrances and have a guard monitoring them at all times. Probably would not have helped at Columbine as they took a bomb in a duffel bag into the kitchen and it was recorded on the video monitors and no one stopped them.

We are told this is a common and the biggest threat to young people today. But yet a few years ago when it seemed postal workers were shooting up every post office we never contemplated not going to the post office. Now I want you to think back a year. In your town at your local high school how many kids have been shot and killed in the last year? In your town how kids who attend the high school have died in auto accidents in the last year? You will realize that there were many more on the second list than on the first. Probably zero on the first and one or two on the second. Should we not allow anyone to not drive until they are 21? If school shootings were common in school, CNN, ABC, NBC and CBS would not cover it.

The suggestion that tons of kids (i.e. thousands) are accidentally killed by guns annually in the United States is wrong. In 1996 only 138 children were killed by guns accidentally. This is a 65% drop from the 550 who died in 1975. There are a variety of programs out there teaching children gun safety including the Jaycees Shooting education program, 4-H Shooting Sports program, NRA Eddie Eagle program and programs by the Boy Scouts and other organizations.

We are told if we would ban guns like Canada, Great Britain, etc. this problem would disappear. No way. Since Columbine a student killed two fellow students at a high school in Canada. In Great Britain a student opened fire on a classroom, but missed everyone. Gun bans, just like alcohol bans and drug bans, will not stop the shootings and guns. Lastly we even had a man use a car to intentionally kill kids at a preschool in the United States. Should we ban cars too?

The proposal that I keep hearing is we have to allow all young people in all groups. The problem in Columbine they said was the two were not allowed in the jock or cheerleader group. They may not have been allowed in these groups, but they formed their own group, the trenchcoat mafia, and had a group there. We will always form groups. Look at history. We usually fall in several groups. Young people have to learn to cope. . It is a part of the maturing process. Life has successes and failures. I have won many elections, but be assured I have lost many too. What is odd though is if you want to form a trenchcoat mafia at school we are told that is fine and that we need to accept you, but if it is a prayer or Bible study group, then it is acceptable to ostracize these groups or even tell them such groups are not permitted in the schools.

Lastly we hear it was a racial thing, but oddly enough only one of the killed was nt the same race as the killers. Why do we put race in everything that occurs today. Dr. King had the same dream I have and that is to reach the day where we do not notice the other's color.

As we continue to recover from Columbine and Conyers, lets be rational. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water. We need to put real discipline back in the schools and teach respect for authority in the school, at home and in the community.


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