By Chris Barts
Human nature is distressing sometimes. People lie, cheat, steal, and even kill one another. But it is never more distressing when kids, supposedly the very images of innocence and purity, commit crimes more heinous than most adults would think of. Yes, Im referring to the school shootings, mostly the ones in Jonesboro and at the Columbine school, which received the most media attention. These crimes, done apparently in cold blood by seemingly average students, were so savage they rivaled the mass homicides done by adults in sheer brutality.
But, as horrible as these crimes seem, they are only the beginning. The next crimes are committed in broad daylight in full view of the public. These crimes are crimes committed with the publics knowledge, if not consent. No one has been directly killed by these crimes, but they are even more terrifying than homicide. These are crimes of ignorance, and as such, can only be combated with education.
The crime is not looking for the real causes of the acts of violence. The media commits this crime repeatedly, especially on emotionally charged issues. They take what little information they have at the scene and jump to conclusions, sometimes finding so-called experts to agree with them and lend credibility to their last plausible theories.
In todays society, the most common whipping boy seems to be guns. At first glance, this seems to be an obvious choice. Remove the guns, cure gun violence. But few things are that simple. Criminals get guns through less than honest means, never registering them and always going through people who dont ask questions. Outlawing guns would mean nothing to them, as they get their guns illegally anyway. Outlawing guns would only deprive the honest, law-abiding citizens of their right to self-defense. If someone wants to ban guns, they should tell it to a rape victim, who could have defended him or herself if he or she had a gun on hand at the scene.
Another common target for the media to attack is entertainment itself, from movies to video games to actual outdoor sports such as paintball. This also seems obvious, and the attacks are less able to be defended against, as no one has hard facts one way or the other. What is known in this: No one can be turned into a monster or killing machine simply by watching TV or playing games. It takes a very disturbed person, one with deep-seated psychological problems and an utter disregard for human life and well-being, to truly kill in cold blood. Such games are, by and large, great stress relievers and a valid way to express emotions otherwise severely repressed in our society. They also fall under the protection of freedom of speech, one of the basic rights of our whole moral and political system is based on.
What is the solution? How can these crimes be prevented in the future? Only by catching the potentially troubled youths at a young age with psychological screening and giving them counseling at a correspondingly young age. The main argument against this one is privacy. This argument is refuted simply: The well-being of the group outweighs the individuals right to privacy. This is a public health concern, and deserves to be treated as such. These procedures would help to heal disturbed minds, bringing peace and sanity where otherwise there would be only pain and suffering. Psychology has the answer, and medicine has the cure, if we would only employ them to our advantage.
There are no easy answers, there are not quick fixes. There is only what works and what does not. The solution I have proposed would work. It might be expensive in money, but these school shootings are expensive in lives. They might be hard to justify in a world where easy but worthless remedies abound, but dad kids are even harder to justify in a world where a real solution exists. In comparison, this plan is neither cheap nor easy, but it has the only advantage that counts. It works.