Parkland revisited - for February 20th - Part 1 – Facts in the face of the Parkland Shooting
Bottom Line: I wanted to revisit this conversation. I've received passionate notes, discussion and politicking around the Parkland shooting, the efforts of many to politicize it and my commentary from Thursday, Friday and my abbreviated segment on Fox News Saturday. So, let's visit my big picture points from last week.
Education Outcomes & Social media influence: What does this have to do with a school shooting? I think potentially plenty. Why didn't we have these shootings at schools prior to Columbine? What's changed in our society, in our schools? Mental illness isn't new. Guns aren't new. So, what is it? Here a few differences. As recently as the 1980's the US ranked 2nd in the world in education. Today we're 17th and have been in a steady 30-year decline. Doing what we've been doing the way we've been doing it has been progressively failing generations of children for a few decades now. Among the changes...A move away from God/faith and related values in the classroom and society generally. The impact of social media and the 24/7 stress it provides in the lives of many.
Guns: If guns were the issue answer this question. Why have all of the mass shootings at schools taken place in states with below average gun ownership rates?
- Colorado: 33rd
- Connecticut: 46th
- Florida: 41st
There are over ten states with gun ownership rates that are well over double what they are in Florida. If guns, rather than people, were the problem why wouldn't this be happening frequently in the states with the highest rates of gun ownership. Conversely, why is it happening in the states among the least armed? That's not to say that there isn't an opportunity for reforms, but any argument focused on the guns rather than the people behind them misses the big picture unless one's only purpose is to push an agenda.
FBI failures: Once again if the FBI did its job to completion we're not having this conversation right now. Ever since 9-11 we've been told that if you see something say something yet that happened numerous times prior to the Pulse shooting and what happened? Here again the FBI was notified – briefly looked into the matter of a person saying quote "I want to become a professional school shooter" and dismissed it. Credible additional tips within a month of the shooting and nothing. 39 different police calls to a home within six years and nothing. "If you see something, say something" sounds nice but is a complete crock based on the way concerns aren't addressed. The bottom line is that if the FBI did its job before Pulse - 49 people wouldn't have did in that nightclub. If the FBI did its job this time - 17 people have their lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school. Therefore, I emphasize that there are two sides to stories but one side to facts. Go ahead with tougher gun laws if you care more about an agenda that dealing with the actual failures - in education, society, and at the FBI. As for me I'd rather seek solutions - as complicated as they may be. Our education system, society and FBI didn't deteriorate overnight, and they won't be fixed overnight either.
The answers aren't easy, but problems are clear.