[OPINION] How Do We End Mass Shootings? It’s Simpler than We Think.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – So many years and so many lives…How long will mass shootings continue and how many more lives will be lost as a result?

The Columbine school shooting seems like it was just yesterday simply because we are still talking about it today. Since then Sandy Hook, Parkland, Thousand Oaks, Synagogue in Pittsburg, Sutherland Springs Church, Las Vegas Music Festival, Pulse Nightclub and so many others have occurred.

In each of these incidents, one thing is clear: politicians share their views and the public shares its views and in any future incidents, the same views will be discussed again. It’s always healthy to have discussions, especially when they produce sound solutions. But what happens when the discussions seem like petty childish arguments where one side is pitted against the other? In a lot of day-to-day issues I suppose that’s okay, but why is it that in cases where so many lives are lost due to nothing more than hate, it’s so impossible to come to a quick resolution?

Children are targeted at schools, churchgoers are targeted at churches, people are targeted as they go shopping or even out for entertainment.

Recently in El Paso, Texas shoppers were targeted all because of their race or nationality. In Dayton, Ohio, people were targeted and killed at a bar. Hate is the root in each case, but many blame everything from mental health and video games to weapons and ammo. No one agrees on anything. President Trump recently blamed the shootings on mental health.

Democrat law makers are blaming guns and President Trump’s hateful speech. Republican lawmakers are blaming video games and mental health.

One thing for certain is that while the bickering continues, so will the mass shootings.
Looking at the issues professionally as a former law enforcement and security intel specialist, I can only think that the reason nothing seems to be changing is that the issues are becoming politicized. Putting away the politics and looking through the crisis lens, I have to think “emergency.”

How do you approach an emergency? You approach it carefully, surveying the situation and creating a resolution quickly. In the mass loss of life over and over, there should’ve been bipartisan urgency for the people. It becomes a national emergency.

I believe the causes and solutions are a mixture of Republican and Democrat ideas.

Mental health, violent video games, light background checks, high capacity magazines, “AR style” rifles all play a role in the problem we have with mass shootings, and of course we can’t overlook hate speech. Everything mentioned must be addressed if we are ever going to get serious about reducing the chances of future mass shootings.

Violent video games, when “overplayed” at a young age, can corrupt the mind to think lives are worthless.

A person with mental health issues may be compelled to do harm to others and themselves. If the national leaders are allowing hate speech to be normal and makes one group of people superior than others, that can provoke one to act violently.

Background checks only work when conducted properly, but what happens when a subject has no arrest history or mental health history? What happens when a subject is not an avid player of violent video games? What can be done in those cases? When I speak with colleagues and anyone that asks, I like to give the example of ability. If the ability is reduced, then so goes the reduction of possibility.

If you have a group of ten people standing together and a person picked up a pebble and threw it at the group, the pebble would likely only hit one person, and not even necessarily the intended target. Now, if you had that same group of ten people and the thrower had two handfuls of pebbles and threw them one hand after the other, they would hit multiple persons. They could hit people without having to “sight and aim” even as people turned to run–just “launch and release.”

I say that to say this: There is no feasible reason for civilians and everyday people to own high-capacity magazines and military-style rifles. A handgun or shotgun is more than enough to protect oneself. As it stands, people have a right to own certain firearms and ammunition and they think the 2nd amendment gives them that right.

I just want to add that even with the 2nd amendment standing as is, there are certain firearms and ammunition that private citizens cannot own. Not long ago, anyone other than law enforcement officers could not own magazines larger than a 10-round capacity. Now we have 100-round drums and 50-round magazines floating off the shelves like candy. Weapons are easily modified after purchase, but no one seems to want to focus on that. More and more lives are going to be lost all at the power of the dollar. None of this is rocket science. Every shooter knows that if they want to kill lots of people without being up close and as quickly as possible, they select a certain weapon.

The argument is that “I can shoot as many rounds with any gun because you shoot only as fast as you can pull the trigger.” Well, what about if you only had ten-round magazines? You could have a lot of magazines but your shot time would be seriously affected. That would be a big difference from having a 50- or 100-rounder and not having to unload and load a new mag after each 10 rounds.

As stated earlier, it will take a bipartisan combination of solutions to reduce mass shootings and the number of casualties they produce.

Reduction of ability creates a reduction of possibility.


Jim Randle is a law enforcement analyst for Florida National News. |

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