Who Is To Blame?

by Q

Turning on the TV yesterday, I found myself again confronted with a scene filled with death, carnage and fear. It was the aftermath of yet another school shooting. This one happened in a place called Santee, California (near San Diego). But it might just as well have been in my town or yours in any nearby school.

As the local and national broadcast media converged on the scene, we were brought instant interviews with people who knew the victims and others who knew the Shooter. In the background, students and arriving parents desperately sought one another out. One question that was repeated over and over again was "Why?"

With two dead and at least thriteen injured, the Shooter turned out to be a fifteen year old male who had recently moved to the area from Maryland. Classmates described him as a boy that was taunted by his peers for being small and skinny. Others said that he had talked about his plans to bring a weapon to school several times, including during a sleepover the weekend before the tragedy. The father of a boy who had invited the Shooter for the sleepover heard the conversation and tried to contact the fifteen year old's Father, with no success. In an interview just after the shooting, the same man said that he should have contacted the Police or School Authorities, but everyone thought the Shooter was kidding as he turned the story into a joke.

Experts say that while disturbed Adults who commit such acts tend to keep their plans secret, teens like to announce their plans in advance. But none of the students or parents who heard the Shooter's stories in advance knew this. Nor did any of the schools plans to deal with disasters like this one include any type of education program that would have told them. That's the why. The next question is, "Who is to blame?"

It was interesting to watch the inevitable press conference that followed the event where Police and School Authorities patted each other on the back and made sure the public knew what true heros they were. And it was not surprising to see the local Prosecutor step up to the mic and tell us how he was going to use the recently approved Proposition 21 to make sure the Shooter was arraigned quickly and tried as an Adult. After all, someone has to pay. Still, I'm sure that all this was of little consolation to those who died, were injured or the affected families.

As a parent, I suppose I could jump on the tar and feather bandwagon that will utlimately make it's way to the door of the house that the Shooter lived in. It must have been those Parents, right? So let's string 'em up and have us one heck of a necktie party. After all, someone has to pay, right? But what part of the guilt trip are the school authorities, police and politicians willing to take?

It was not surprising to watch our new President say a few brief words about the incident during a photo opp. We all expect that. President Bush called the incident, "An act of cowardice," with all the sincerity of a used car pitchman. One wonders why the son of the so-called 'Education President' would not consider spending some of the billions of dollars he says we should all get back in tax cuts on programs to prevent this type of thing. But then most public schools are falling apart, laying off teachers and busy just trying to survive. Police have to cut back gang and violence prevention programs in the places they are needed most because it's more fashionable and voter smart for Politicians to build more prisons.

The human failures we have seen fit to elect to rule over us have, again, proved to be utterly useless when it comes to solving real problems or taking any sort of responsibilty for the decay of our school systems or lack of violence prevention programs. But they are not bothered by these things. After all, isn't the responsibility of the Parents to teach their children the kind of values that will prevent this kind of behavior? Sure. But what are children to think when they see the rich receive one type of justice, and the poor another?

Most of these type of shootings happen in nice areas where students with middle to high income parents stand ready to defend their kids against any legal assault with a team of expensive lawyers. Perhaps these kids believe that if their parents give enough money to the right Political Party, they will be protected or pardoned? These are the lessons taught by Democrats and Republicans, alike, on all governmental levels. They do not care about you, me or school shootings. They do not care if the schools fall down around the kids they are meant to educate. All they care about is how many votes they receive.

Listening to the Politicians speak of procedures in place to deal with school disasters and how new laws will punish the guilty, one is reminded of Scrooge. In the fictional Charles Dickens tale, the miser is approached by his fellow businessmen trying to raise money to help make some extra provisions available to the poor. He asks, "Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?" These, too, were meant to deal with social problems, and just as effectively.

One again, we see the complete failure of Politicians to take the initiative and spend the money needed to make schools the kind of safe and productive places of learning they should be. Instead, Politicians have made them dangerous failure farms. But on go the arguments about vouchers, money and values.

Problems are not solved by debate, they are solved by action! It seems we can expect none from our Leaders, so take some and use the resources below:

Help Prevent School Shootings!

Keep Schools Safe
Kids in Crisis
Warning Signs


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