Another horrific school shooting and the typical knee-jerk and problematic reactions.
I worked in schools from 1971 to 2012 and I have seen too much.
The first problem is the media sensationalizes these events and that encourages copycats. On national television we are now watching live video from student phones from inside the school, children are being interviewed on the national media.
This is helping nothing. The media should focus only on the survivors and victims.
Not the perp or his actions.
Second problem is politicizing this type of event. Immediately we hear about gun control, the NRA, the left, the right etc., etc., etc.
This is helping nothing.
There is no simple solution for this problem. However, I will outline below a way to move to a solution.
Parents need to know what their kids are doing in real life and online.
This shooter had an assault weapon, gas mask, smoke bombs, etc. … And no one knew.
We need to address mental health in America.
This shooter enjoyed killing small animals and posted related information on social media. This is a strong indication of pathology that was never addressed.
Assault weapons need to be outlawed.
I am not, and never have been, a gun owner. I feel Americans who qualify have every right to own a gun for hunting or sport or collectibles or whatever. However assault weapons should only be in the hands of the military and police. These weapons have one purpose only: to kill as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time.
We need more of an armed police presence in our schools, period.
They are the best deterrent to shootings and other crimes.
Teachers and students need training in how to prevent these incidents.
They need to know what to look out for and how to report concerns and suspicious activity to school officials.
We need a multi-faceted approach to a very complex problem. There is no one action, no one law that will end it.
I only wish there was.
The solution to the problem exists; the question is, do we want to solve it or not?
Dr. John Metallo is a retired teacher and administrator. Among the positions he has held are principal of Albany High School and adjunct instructor at the University at Albany and SUNY Plattsburgh. He lives in Slingerlands and can be reached at (518) 577-7530 or at [email protected]