Ways to stop mass shootings

Sep 16, 2019 by

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Once again there are mass shootings. Once again, nothing will be done. People offer thoughts and prayers but have become numb to the violence.

We’re looking at this all wrong. We should be focusing on three broad things: means, motive and opportunity. Maybe I’ve watched too many cop shows, but to solve a crime they must have all three of these elements. If you eliminate even one, you don’t have a crime in the first place.

— Motive: This covers many things — hate, revenge, terrorism, white supremacy, money, mental illness, victims of bullying. Mental illness is often cited as a cause, but this is a factor in only 4 percent of the cases.

Religious leaders want to blame it on sin and evil, but in thousands of years of human existence we haven’t eradicated sin yet. Teachers, counselors, pastors, law enforcement, the FBI and others work every day with troubled people and have already prevented thousands of shootings without making any news. Law enforcement has prevented 40 since the El Paso shootings. Motive is an extremely broad and difficult thing to get a handle on. But if you can eliminate it, the crime does not happen that day.

— Means: If you don’t have the tool, you can’t do the job. If there were no gun in the hands of the shooter that day, the shooting would not have happened. The debate rages if we are safer with more guns or fewer guns. One TV guest said if more guns made us safer, Texas would be the safest place in the world. There are many ways to remove the guns from the hands of people who should not have them. Liberals and conservatives might actually agree on some of these.

— Opportunity: This means there is an available target, at the right timing. The FBI talks about soft targets and hard targets. Soft targets are like hospitals, day-care centers, shopping malls. Hard targets are areas that are hard to get into. Many schools have already gone to some kind of restricted entrances. In the case of the shooting 18 months ago in northern California, a school was alerted and went on lockdown. The shooter came, could not enter, and went elsewhere. That’s a hardened target, and it saved some lives that day by removing the opportunity.

If you take the politics out of this, I believe the extremes can come together and agree on ways to make the world safer.

Brian Stucky
Goessel, Kan.

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