Try on some of these afterthoughts for size:
“He was a quiet kid, a loner. Kept to himself. Never said much.”
“He was always angry. Threatening. Crazy.”
“He was preoccupied with guns and knives.”
“He bought the gun legally.”
“He lied on his gun application.”
“There’s nothing we can do to stop him until he actually pulls the trigger.”
These are among the top bromides that follow mass shootings like the one we’re dealing with now, the one just north of Ft. Lauderdale.
True, in a nation founded on laws -- many of them more flexible than a rubber band -- we can’t stop something that hasn’t yet happened. But there always are signs.
The “suspect,” Nikolas Cruz showed plenty of them. Social media posts. Gun talk. Troubled student. Teachers knew this. Probably school administrators too. Parents? Neighbors? Fellow students?
Someone knew. No one did anything. This is not to blame anyone but Cruz. He did it. It’s his fault. Not his tough childhood or his misery or his mean auntie or the teachers would wouldn’t pass him when he hadn’t earned passing grades. But others helped. Like the manufacturers, the sellers and the moral climate that condemns these acts only in the aftermath.
When Kirby Crewcut, 16, comes to school in camos for six or seven months, when he doodles pictures of AK47s in his notebook while he should be paying attention to the lesson… when his Facebook motto is “Seven Verified Kills” with a picture of a cat or a bird or a turtle… You know there’s something wrong.
There’s nothing law enforcement can do about Camo Kirby or Nikola Cruz. But others may be able to, at least some of the time. If they overcome their disbelief or denial and pay attention to what’s going on at home, in school or in the neighborhood.
Typical response: “Oh, I could see something was wrong with him, but what could I do?” Stock answer: “Get him help.” Too many “helpers” are helpless. Too many kids in therapy think therapy is something that cures them or at least slows them. No. Therapy is not something that happens to them. It’s something they have to do.
But therapy isn’t always the answer. Sometimes, the answer is taking the kid aside and telling him you “know where this is going. I’m wise to you.” Sometimes that’s enough. Not often enough, but sometimes.
Here are some things that never work:
--He’ll outgrow it.
--I’m too busy.
--He won’t talk to me.
There’s no universal instruction book for parents and kids. Every parent improvises. Some play that fiddle better than others. But it starts early. And the signs are there early:
--Never outgrew the terrible twos.
--The terrible twos were really terrible, not just a burst of energy and exploration.
We overtalk these situations and under-do them. But as a nation we have a collective problem. We’re trying to balance rights -- real or imagined -- that are in our basic law, the Constitution. And that’s not going to work.
The Second Amendment is specific about who should have guns, who should use them and when, and what people who have them have them for. The Constitution does not prohibit gun regulation.
And we have a Supreme Court that can’t read and votes illiterately.
One of the big arguments gun rights people make against any kind of law restricting them is a false comparison. They’ll tell you cars kill more people than guns. And that may be statistically true, if only because more people drive than shoot. But you can count on one hand the number of people who intend to do damage with a moving vehicle even in the age of sidewalk truck terrorists and “honor killings.”
Every state, even the dumbest of them has driving laws: Training, testing, licensing, insuring and policing. Yes, a dangerous projectile is at least somewhat curbed by sensible laws and rigorous enforcement.
So why not do the same for guns? Train, test, license, insure and police. Home schooling may work for driving, but it doesn’t work for firearms. And there’s no test for a license. There’s no grumpy guy with a clipboard sitting there marking you right or wrong for what you do.
Driving tests are not just for skill. They’re a step toward protecting others against your possible onslaught.
Okay, let the firing pinheads loose on this one.
Further reading: We addressed the value of prayer in cases like this two years ago. Summary: Useless, maybe less than useless. Find the full report here . (Addendum for those who read the link: the patient who needed the motorized wheelchair never received it. The crowdfunding effort failed to raise the funds and the inured woman has since passed away.)
--The people who have kidnapped the second amendment did so in plain sight, aided by elected gangsters who lie and get rich for their trouble. But they’ve also kidnapped the standard cure for such twisting, the vote. It may no longer be possible for your vote to matter.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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