General Question

SergeantQueen's avatar

What can be done to prevent tragic shootings, outside the scope of gun control?

Asked by SergeantQueen (7330points) February 16th, 2018

Disclaimer: This isn’t a debate about guns, whatsoever. I want to try and stay away from mentions of guns.
I’m asking for things, outside of guns, that can be done to prevent shootings at schools, specifically.
They caught the shooter of Florida, which apparently is very rare because they usually kill themselves. I’m hoping they will interview him, figure out his state of mind/more about why he did it, and then put steps/programs in place to stop it.

This question is asking more about what you think should be done to prevent school shootings inside a school meaning should the school be educating students on getting help if they feel like that (homicidal), doing more about bullying, etc. Instead of saying “here’s what to do if a shooter is in the school”

My school has a cop that walks around all day. Has his own office and parking spot. I think that might be a good start for most schools but then the issue is paying the cop.

I’m trying to think of an easy, simplistic way to ask this question, but I’m having a hard time so hopefully I’m not being too confusing

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158 Answers

seawulf575's avatar

Gun control won’t stop these attacks. But I know when I was in high school, they started having rent-a-cops and later cops patrolling the halls and grounds. They limited access into the schools and later on (after I graduated) started with metal detectors, etc. When my kids started going to school, you had to be “buzzed in” to be able to enter. There was an intercom you had to use to identify yourself. And the doors were within sight of the office so if anyone tried defeating the lock, they could call the cops immediately. I believe these are “common sense” measures that can help.

ragingloli's avatar

Well, for starters, you could reduce funding for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration by $665 million, reduce the budget for the National Institute of Mental Health by 30%, and sign a bill to make it easier for people with mental illnesses to buy guns.

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/02/15/586095437/trump-calls-for-mental-health-action-after-shooting-his-budget-would-cut-program

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Yeah that would work^^ Trump always gets it right^ I know and include another big tax break for the wealthy and all will be right with the world.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Then exempt both the drug and weapons manufacturers from
laws restricting them for irresponibly “marketing” their products. Why not just dispense drugs and weapons in schools and asylums?

SQUEEKY2's avatar

One thing would be stop sensationalizing violence so much,examples in movies and tv, make young people realize that it accomplishes nothing but pain and suffering, get people the mental health help they need.
But whom am I kidding, violence is huge money in the entertainment industry, and mental health help yeah right, no commie style universal health care for america if you can’t afford the crummy insurance you can just suffer.
Canada aint perfect but I will take it way over the usa, sorry for those of you that have to live with this shit every day.
By the way hows that wall coming? Now that is where tax dollars need to be spent.

seawulf575's avatar

I think that if you really want to get to the source of these shootings, you need to go WAY beyond guns. That is a scratch-the-surface argument that actually distracts from the actual causes. What has our society been teaching our kids for the past half a century or more? They see senseless violence in movies and on TV that is glamorized. We have vilified police. We have glorified criminals. We have shown time and again that our elected officials violate the law and nothing happens to them. We have violence in video games, music, video, etc and then wonder when these things start infecting our children. We put our children on all sorts of pharmaceuticals that mess with their minds and then wonder when they can’t think straight. We have a society with families that increasingly doesn’t want to take responsibility for raising their children, expect our schools to do it for them, and then wonder when they have no responsibility? I think the causes go far deeper than “hey! he used a gun!”.

SergeantQueen's avatar

exactly @seawulf575. I constantly hear about guns and that’s it. There is way more that goes into this kind of thing. I’m seriously hoping they get into this guys head. Figure out his thought process, all that. I feel that what he has to say, about why he did it, has nothing to do with guns.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Nice answer there @seawulf575 you and I don’t usually see eye to eye on things but I do agree with ya on this one.

Demosthenes's avatar

Those like Nikolas Cruz are generally the type of people that the “system” brushes aside. That needs to change. He’s an at-risk person, someone who has exhibited disturbing behavior i the past, the school expels him, he’s no longer their problem, he’s just left to let his violent rage fester until he can carry out an attack like this. Schools need more resources to deal with mental health issues in children (there need to be more effective resources for anyone who is mentally ill, but since we’re talking about school shootings, I thought I would mention that). Large class sizes and limited resources lead to students becoming anonymous, lead to the ones with problems being ignored. People like this, who have made violent and disturbing comments that caught the attention of their fellow students and even the FBI, should not be allowed to slip through the cracks.

But I don’t agree that guns are not part of the problem. They are part of it. They are not the only problem. There is much more going on here, that is true. But we can’t simply ignore the gun issue as if it has nothing to do with mass shootings. Of course it does. The problem is when we believe we can stop there with feel-good band-aid anti-gun rhetoric. It will not get at what drives people to commit mass shootings in the first place.

The over-arching question needs to be: **why are mass shootings much more common in the United States than in other developed nations? What makes the United States different?**

SergeantQueen's avatar

the FBI was tipped off 5 months prior to the shooting in Florida

@Demosthenes I agree with your statement: ” Schools need more resources to deal with mental health issues in children (there need to be more effective resources for anyone who is mentally ill, but since we’re talking about school shootings, I thought I would mention that)”
Schools are just not equipped to handle stuff like that.

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seawulf575's avatar

Thanks @SQUEEKY2 I do have my moments ;-)

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KNOWITALL's avatar

We need accountability by schools, parents, govt agencies, military, etc…. When all warnings are ignored (shell casings in his backpack, social media, etc…) and this happens, no one is held accountable, fire them all if they had a heads up and did nothing.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I see it as a multifaceted problem. I do believe this transcends guns. The “assault rifle” and its availability has not changed much in 60 years. In middle school we had a shooting team, you brought your guns to school and the P.E. coach locked them up in the morning so you would have them for practice at the end of the day. This shit was not happening then so what has changed?

I think we have schools that have become impersonal and institutional. Kids are more likely in the autism spectrum now and we don’t know why. Kids are also over-medicated to an alarming degree and there is usually little individual focus on any of them unless you are the special snowflake of the day getting all the attention. I also think depression is much higher and is a direct result of more inactivity due to video games, social media and general technological gadgets. This immersion keeps kids from playing outside and more importantly from playing together. They often grow up more in a self-serving fantasy world where their bubbles are seldom popped. If it happens in those delicate teen years.. Mix depression, psych meds, no support systems, isolation and unsupervised access to firearms with that and hol-e fuck watch out.

Just a quarter century ago when I was in school the beginnings of this political divide were starting to show, I can only imagine its gotten worse.Teachers and elders who are supposed to mentor and prepare kids to be adults are more focused on numbers. They made us believe that if we did poorly on standard tests or did not get into college our lives would be miserable. If you were a white male then there was less sympathy for any issues you had. Support is probably almost non-existant now in certain parts of the country. It’s not surprising to me that these shootings are done by white males, near the end of high school and centered around specific geographic regions. That’s just one facet.

Parenting is another, it’s not just that we are bad parents it’s that we often don’t have the luxury of being good parents. It takes more effort from both parents to raise a family these days. It’s no wonder many kids become isolated.

Bullying is I believe a larger issue now than it was in the past simply because the support systems that kids have is smaller or at least more shallow with little follow through and social media magnifies the mental anguish it causes.

Not that teachers should be armed but WTF is wrong with keeping a couple armed security officers on staff at schools. Why is this so politically incorrect? This is a problem we don’t have control over so why leave the gates wide open? You don’t have to make schools like prisons with metal detectors and whatnot, just have a few trained people on hand to respond to emergencies. Not just for shootings but medical, safety and other emergency situations.

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seawulf575's avatar

Well said, @ARE_you_kidding_me. The only part I disagree with is the parenting piece. I got divorced and had custody of my three children when they were 6 and 2 at 2.5 years of age. I raised them while working and they turned out to be wonderful adults. It took a lot of effort and my priority always had to be them. And that is where I think most parents fall down. The effort gets to be too much or they feel like they just can’t do it. They can….I am living proof. But it is tough. Maybe we need to look at that aspect and figure out what we can do to (a) keep families together and (b) more involved with their children AND their schools.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@seawulf575 Or mandatory requirements before you can breed.

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seawulf575's avatar

@KNOWITALL while I sometimes think that might be the right answer, I stop myself. That puts control of our families into the hands of the bureaucrats. Look at China to see how that works. You have to apply to the government for permission to have a child. I really don’t want to go there.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@seawulf575 Everyone says he had mental illness and depression issues. Adopted. Just sad.

SergeantQueen's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me “Not that teachers should be armed but WTF is wrong with keeping a couple armed security officers on staff at schools.”
I said in my question, My school has a cop that walks around the school. Usually, it’s one cop at a time (From what I can tell) but they are different cops every few days or so. The sheriff has his own office. He’s the SRO (Student resource officer) So if you had concerns about some doing drugs or planning to shoot up the school you could talk to him any point in the day. He also has his own parking spot that says “Reserved for ____ county sheriff”
I think more schools, especially ones that have already had shootings should have cops.

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Mariah's avatar

I read this very good article today. The long and short of it is that improving mental healthcare won’t likely make much difference because the profile of a person who commits a mass shooting is of someone who thinks his problems are caused by external factors. He won’t seek therapy because he doesn’t believe he is the problem.

I’d like to hear how any of you would enforce restrictions on people’s abilities to breed.

We have to improve as a society. We have to create social acceptance for emotional expression among men. We have to stop giving these shooters their 15 minutes of fame, because there’s clearly a memetic effect.

I also believe we need restrictions on guns.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@seawulf575 “my priority always had to be them”
and that’s probably why they turned out fine. I’m seeing a lot of parents put their careers first, that’s where I was going

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Jeruba's avatar

I’m bothered by the people who so glibly say “Why didn’t they get help?” and “Somebody [parents, school authorities, teachers, neighbors, etc.] should have done something” without offering a clue as to what might be done.

“Get help.” Right.

The day after the Columbine shooting in 1999, I made some phone calls, trying to get an answer to the question “If I were worried that my kid might commit a violent act, what would I do?” I found out that
• in my populous urban community, there was virtually no one who practiced psychotherapy for adolescents;
• there were only two hospitals (neither one in my county) that would accept juvenile patients in their mental health divisions;
• police couldn’t do anything unless an actual incident occurred;
• involuntary commitment was about the only option if the youngster refused treatment;
• if a youngster agreed to therapy but then resisted treatment, refused to cooperate, wouldn’t talk, or just lied to the therapist, there was nothing anybody could do; and
• if you managed to get your child into some kind of juvenile residential treatment facility—assuming that the condition or risk was dire enough to warrant that (and assuming that you were willing to stigmatize your child for life with that in his history)—you could be in for anywhere from $8000 to $30,000 a month in charges, and might still face a huge out-of-pocket cost even if your insurance covered some of it.

You could also spend a whole lot of money—and time, and emotional energy—taking a youngster to therapists week after week without seeing any improvement whatsoever.

If you were worried about your kid but did not have any direct evidence or any cause to predict some terrible immediate event, what would you do?

I was concerned about my son, who was 13 at the time and who seemed alienated and angry in ways I didn’t understand, but I didn’t believe he was going to commit a violent act (and he didn’t). If I had thought so, where would I have found competent help?

What I did do to help my son deal with his issues is a whole other story that I won’t go into; but it was just as frustrating and probably in the end just as useless.

Maybe things are a lot different now, and certainly a lot more is known about adolescent depression and other conditions; but I’d still like to know what someone who has only a layperson’s knowledge and tools is supposed to do to get help when they’re worried about somebody.

It’s so easy to blame the parents, isn’t it? And of course they do come in for their share of responsibility. But the fact that nothing succeeded in preventing some terrible act is not proof that nobody tried.

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RedDeerGuy1's avatar

The schools could offer anger management class in high school?

notwonderwoman's avatar

It’s so easy to blame the weird and socially awkward for all of our problems. Shall we just round them all up because they might do something? We shouldn’t round up all the guns because it’s our right to have them, but it’s okay to blame the socially awkward and make them feel worse than they already do. My son who is now a productive adult was labeled the “future school shooter” by his classmates because he was extremely shy. It didn’t matter that he had excellent grades in school and was liked by his teachers. He didn’t fit in with the others because he was that weird kid. Not violent at all, just quiet and kept to himself.

Sorry but the issue is guns, not the weird kids.

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RocketGuy's avatar

What if we made an exemption to the 4th Amendment and allowed public humiliation and tazing for school shooters? That would take away the incentive. Right now they get publicity to go with their quiet jail time, which is not a bad trade to them.

ragingloli's avatar

@RocketGuy
That will only incentivise them to go down in a blaze of glory, or pull an Adolf at the conclusion of their rampage.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Perhaps instead of concentrating on the weapons, it might be more productive to clamp down on the manufacturing of ammunition. Ammo (unlike guns) degrades with time.

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RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I would have guidance or life coaching available to expelled students, as well as anger management for all students as a mandatory career life management course. To channel rage and to give a plan for the future instead of becoming famous by shooting innocent students.

SergeantQueen's avatar

I wanted this to be not all about guns because 1) that’s so obvious of an answer and 2) controlling guns/making it harder to get them/ whatever it is you want isn’t going to stop kids from getting guns. Isn’t going to stop this from happening. People can obtain knives and other stuff for one which can lower the death count but still. If a kid is set on harming kids in the school he’ll try whichever way possible. Especially if there is a list and not just a free for all.
also, making it harder to get guns won’t actually do anything when it comes to school shootings. Where did a lot of these kids get the gun? Their parents… who got the gun legally… Making it harder for someone to get a gun doesn’t make it harder for someone to steal a gun from someone else, etc.

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ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I think what @SergeantQueen is driving at is why do school shooters exist in the first place. What is the social chemistry that creates them. There is where you will find the really uncomfortable conversations and not just the low hanging fruit.

SergeantQueen's avatar

^Exactly.Thank you

gorillapaws's avatar

@SergeantQueen There have been psychopaths dating back thousands of years. It’s probably a genetic flaw that shows up in some percentage of the population. I don’t see that ever going away.

SergeantQueen's avatar

Because obviously there is something going on in these kids lives that really messed them up and @gorillapaws shooting up a school doesn’t automatically make you a psychopath. Seems like it would but it doesn’t. Everyone has a breaking point, and for some kids having this pent-up anger and whatever can escalate way beyond what may happen to others.

SergeantQueen's avatar

Also, they can’t diagnose someone under 18 as a psychopath because teenagers have so much going on in their bodies and a bunch of other factors. (The Florida kid was 19 but not all school shooters are that old)

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SergeantQueen's avatar

But anyways. I want to re-address this, since no one read it apparently
“Disclaimer: This isn’t a debate about guns, whatsoever. I want to try and stay away from mentions of guns.”

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gorillapaws's avatar

@SergeantQueen Are you saying that if something is less than perfect it shouldn’t be done? That’s called the Nirvana Fallacy.

You’re the one that brought guns into the question. I was just responding to you.

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Soubresaut's avatar

@SergeantQueen, I think part of the reason people are bringing gun control as-a-solution into the discussion is because it was first brought up in a few posts that called it a non-solution to the question at hand—which is still a way of bringing up the issue. And then as people responded to that aspect of the thread, because it’s such a hot button topic currently, that part gradually gained more and more ground in the discussion.

I suspect, too, that the people who are bringing up gun control don’t think other measures will be sufficient alone. I doubt anyone on this thread will disagree with ideas like better educating and supporting students emotionally, psychologically, socially… but I’m guessing for some—myself included—that’s seen as an additional measure, not as a replacement.

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SQUEEKY2's avatar

I think what @SergeantQueen is wanting what is pushing these people to pick up a gun and do these horrible acts?
Are they just doing these crimes because there is an over abundance of firearms??
That is just a quick cop out!
Murder is very much illegal and yet these crimes continue,maybe we need stronger laws against Murder!
What is making these people go nuts, and pick up one of these weapons and kill innocent people?
Is it being bullied?
Is it a total lack of desperation and hope?
Is it the total bombardment of sensationalizing violence in movies and tv?

stanleybmanly's avatar

No Squeek. Of course there’s more to it than that. Who knows what these people would do if it weren’t easy to get a gun. But just think about it. Where would you expect the higher incidence of mass shootings—an America with 30 million guns or an America with 300 million guns? What would you predict as gun levels rise to 400 million? Are the shootings likely to diminish? But the bottom line is they pick up the weapon because it’s AVAILABLE. There was a time when it wasn’t.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Maybe we can experiment and see what works and what doesn’t? Most gun yes or no arguments have already been discussed to death. Time for something new? Or accept that what we have now is as good as it gets and with no solution? I’m still for helping students before hand with education and anger management. Maybe giving a legit way to become famous without hurting anyone.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

So you are saying the ease of accessibility to firearms makes it easier for these freaks to do these horrible acts?
But we should concentrate on what is causing these people to break and commit these horrible acts, rather than just say it wouldn’t have happened if the person didn’t get a firearm.
because they could just mow down a crowd with a car instead, or make some kind of home made bomb, like the two did in Boston.
We need to find out why these people are snapping, then maybe we can get a grasp of how to handle it.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 Yes. That’s a great idea. It might be rage, fun, protest, or to get famous, or a medical condition?

stanleybmanly's avatar

Okay. Let’s say that I’m disturbed or starved for attention, Or let’s say that I want an efficient way to “make a statement” or simply see to it that a lot more people are as miserable as myself. And finally, let’s say that I don’t care if I myself am killed. What’s the most effective and proven way of achieving ALL of these things? How can you kill the maximum number of people in the shortest period of time and do it relatively cheaply?

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I won’t argue that a firearm would make those tasks far easier than most anything else.
But will be making harder laws actually prevent that?
Murder is against the law and yet it happens all the time,these acts prove that.
Banning guns aint going to happen in your country, I am not against back ground checks and so fourth, how about stricter laws about safely securing them in the home?
So no one but the rightful owner has access to them?

stanleybmanly's avatar

It’s the numbers which render the situation out of control. The glut is such that ANYONE with a little effort can obtain an assault rifle, and the NRA is not going to allow restrictions on firearms. Even were people to suddenly see the light, it’s now too late. The situation is only going to deteriorate as the gun supply continues to mount.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

You see @stanleybmanly I am a bit on your side ,while I am a firearm enthusiast I fail to see the need why anyone one needs tactical assault rifle with a fifty plus round mag, FOR what?
I love trap shooting, pistol shooting, target shooting, but those sports don’t require combat style weapons.
Assault weapons should be strictly regulated ,they are here in Canada.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Of course this whole thing IS a mental health issue, but viewing the increase in shootings as a symptom of a lunatic epidemic is a mistake. What if only 1 person in a million or even 1 in 10 million wanted to go on a shooting spree? If the weapons are easily available, what are our chances of preventing the slaughter?

seawulf575's avatar

@stanleybmanly There are as many guns as automobiles in this country….and they cause as many deaths. But the question I believe @SergeantQueen is asking is what else can we do besides more gun control laws? The guns are the tool….not the cause. Something else is the cause. THAT is what we need to focus on.

gorillapaws's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 You can be a diagnosed schizophrenic, on the no-fly list, go to a gun show and buy a 50 BMG with cash and park a truck at the end of a runway all without breaking any laws.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Again I am agreeing with you @seawulf575 what is this world coming too?
We need to root out the cause, what is causing these people to snap,then we can help.

@gorillapaws I know what a 50BMG is and what you described is wrong,people with known mental issues should not have access to firearms of any kind.

gorillapaws's avatar

@seawulf575 We could sterilize humanity. We could forcibly extract DNA from every American to determine what genes may be responsible for the behavior and forcibly sterilize those who have it and lock up carriers of the genes just to be safe. We could have the government insert chips in our heads that monitor our thoughts. We could deport all white males. We could be forced to have cameras monitoring our every movement to verify we’re not demonstrating any aberrant behaviors…

Darth_Algar's avatar

@SQUEEKY2

Why should a mental illness warrant depriving someone of their Constitutional rights?

stanleybmanly's avatar

@seawulf575 I understand the sergeant’s question. My answer is if you are unwilling or unable to limit the number of firearms, the numbers of killings MUST and will increase right in step with the accumulation of weaponry. The true horror of the situation is that there is a lag time between the piling up of the guns and the resulting killings. We’d better get used to it. And in the end, we as individuals are at extremely small risk of being victims in one of these things. We have a much better chance of falling victim to one of seawulf’s automobiles. But if trends in the growth of weaponry continue, the day must arrive when you’re safer on the road.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I know you are just being snarky @Darth_Algar but if that illness puts others at risk if you obtain a weapon, well you do the rest.

seawulf575's avatar

So, @stanleybmanly, limit/eliminate the guns to stop the murders. Then explain Honduras. They limit/eliminate the guns and have among the highest gun death rates in the world.

thisismyusername's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 – What types of mental illness would void your right to gun ownership? Would this help or exacerbate the problem of mental illness stigma? Would people be less-likely to seek help if it meant that they would be put on a list that meant that they would not be able to purchase a gun? And would this mean that certain mental health diagnoses would trigger your name being added to a list? Who would maintain this and would this conflict with privacy laws?

What about the no-fly list that some people have mentioned? This no-fly list is already problematic and has resulted in plenty of people ending up on that list incorrectly. Are we now going to use a flawed system for restricting even more rights and targeting certain people?

notwonderwoman's avatar

@SergeantQueen You might find this article interesting. “The truth cannot be boiled down to any single issue. As sociologists, we can look to the bigger picture, point out patterns, and identify common denominators. Our research suggests that gun control is, indeed, an important piece of the problem. But in order to understand the factors behind America’s mass shootings, it is also critical to consider the relationship between masculinity and violence.” https://qz.com/1095247/the-sociological-explanation-for-why-men-in-america-turn-to-gun-violence/

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@thisismyusername The type of mental illness that would restrict your access to a firearm would have to be left in the hands of a medical professional if he/she thinks that your condition would put others at risk if you owned a firearm,then you shouldn’t own a firearm.

Also if you have ANY convictions of violent crimes then you should NOT be allowed to own a firearm.
While I don’t understand the need for a civilian to own any kind of combat style assault weapon, I very much am a firearm enthusiast but all my firearms have sporting purposes and are not tactical by any means.
But enough of that the op didn’t want to go into a ban guns debate, and as @seawulf575 pointed out guns are just a tool, they are NOT the problem, people that seem to snap(mentally) for whatever reason are the problem,and finding out why they snap is the solution, then as a society we can then understand and truly help them ,but until then we can just shout at each other and scatch our heads as these horrible crimes continue.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I would like to add this,hard drugs are totally illegal and banned but people have very little problem obtaining them why would it be any different for firearms?

The solution as I have stated before is knowing how these people become mentally ill ,knowing that then we can truly help them.
And these horrible mass killing can come to an end.

notwonderwoman's avatar

^My link is very informative.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@seawulf575 Obviously since the killings continue, nothing is limited or eliminated in Honduras. The truth is that there is barely a trace of what anyone would consider a government in what is left of Honduras. That is the other dishonesty in comparing the place to Switzerland.

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longgone's avatar

[Mod says] This thread is in General, and the OP asked about methods other than gun control. Please stay on topic and be helpful.

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SQUEEKY2's avatar

@notwonderwoman Then we must learn what turns these people mean enough to pick up a weapon and kill.

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notwonderwoman's avatar

@stanley I agree with you but I was trying to give the OP what he asked for.

@Squeeky My link gives those suggestions, doesn’t it?

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RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Homeschooling might be a viable option to public schools. Homeschooling online is the future.

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SQUEEKY2's avatar

I am totally for sensible regulation, but we still need to know what makes these shooters snap.

notwonderwoman's avatar

^but we still need to know what makes these shooters snap

Again, the link I shared addresses this. I’m thinking you didn’t take the time to read any of it. Here are some highlights:

Anger disorders are a product of long-term anger mismanagement. They are a pathological misdirection of normal aggressive feelings. Anger is, at its essence, a part of the basic biological reaction to danger, the fight or flight response. The physiological shift makes us stop thinking and mobilize for immediate action, as though our life depends on it. It is a primitive response, and very powerful. Anger prepares us to stand our ground and fight. It helped our ancestors survive, but in today’s complex technological world, it is often more hindrance than help. The angrier you feel, the less clearly you can think, and therefore the less able you are to negotiate, take a new perspective, or effectively handle a provocation.

The violence that is a part of anger disorders is fueled by chronic repressed rage that has found no socially acceptable outlet. It is fostered by families in which adults behave in violent, intimidating ways or in which anger is tightly repressed. In either situation there is no appropriate model for the safe or constructive expression of anger.

One of the allegations that have recently been made is that the mental health community is failing society in dealing with violent crime. I would agree with this assessment. We have failed to provide an appropriate diagnosis for out-of-control anger or a framework to assist people in understanding the senseless violence around them, and worse, we have done nothing to prevent it.

The truth is, anger management skills are simple techniques that can and should be taught to children and adolescents. We should not wait to teach these skills until verbally or physically violent behavior has become habitual and, often, life-threatening.

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Soubresaut's avatar

Okay, I’ll try again to better answer the question directly.

There are efforts to educate people about what warning signs to look for, signs that might indicate someone is heading towards being a mass shooter. The hope is that, when people can recognize the warning signs, they can get that individual help before they do anything irreversible. This video was put out by Sandy Hook Promise and I think conveys this concept effectively (both some of the possible signs, and the inherent difficulty in spotting them). You can visit the organization’s website (second link) to find out more about their approach, which may be closer to what you’re looking for with this question.

I think educating people about warning signs is an important piece of the puzzle, and every person that is able to get the help they need as a result of someone reaching out (whether or not they were going to be a mass shooter), is worth the effort. I don’t think, however, that this strategy is enough on its own. Similar campaigns are made for the warning signs of suicide, for example, and while it certainly means more people are helped than would have been otherwise, it’s not at all a guarantee… how people express emotional pain isn’t a formula, which means it isn’t as simple as saying “I see x, y, and z. This person is mass shooting candidate.” Not everyone will show every sign. Not everyone will show those signs in the same way. Some may be very good at hiding what signs they could have shown. And without the hindsight that allows us to trace a straight line through otherwise ambiguous signals, it’s not always clear. What I’m trying to say: this kind of education is really important, and can really help people, but it’s not a sure thing on its own.

The family that took in the Florida shooter didn’t notice anything off about him in the days before the shooting, and they lived with him.

There are also efforts in schools to provide better support for students and to meet students’ individual needs academically, socially, emotionally, etc. The trick with this is there are many variables at play, including (but not limited to) the resources/funding a school has access to. There is no across-the-board synchronized effort, and there is no simple answer to this. Things have to be researched, funded, coordinated, assessed, revised…. Of course I support schools continuing to improve their ability to help each student. But in the meantime, in the we’re-still-working-on-this phase? Seems like we’d also want to be working on a solution that can have more immediate results, a solution that makes it harder for students to commit such a devastating and irreversible action because the system failed them, or at least hadn’t yet helped them.

I also don’t think this strategy will be enough on its own, though of course the idealist in me likes to think it would be. Again, I think this is a very important thing for schools to do, and it can really help people (and not just those who were going down the path of being a mass shooter), but it’s not a sure thing for stopping mass shootings on its own.

School drills for shootings are also changing, too. I know you mentioned training/drills in the OP, but since they are apparently changing, I thought it worth bringing up. Students and teachers are still taught to run and hide, but, from what I understand, they’re also now taught that if you can’t get away from the shooter, and you have an opportunity to fight back, do so—because you’re out of other options, basically. I haven’t looked into how effective this is in practice.

Once again, I think these drills are important—the move of last resort, trying to make sure as many people are prepared and as safe as they can be in a horrible situation. But obviously, this isn’t enough on its own.

I don’t think that solutions like putting metal detectors at the entrances, or having armed police on campus, are good solutions. I think they’re cop outs. If our schools are so unsafe as to need that kind of security, we’re already doing something wrong as a society. (I also don’t think it helps foster the school’s sense of community. It’s a system that says, every day, “you can’t be trusted; your classmates can’t be trusted; you’re entering a place where you’re at risk.” Seems like if someone’s already on the edge, this wouldn’t help bring them back. And even if it does manage to keep a shooter out of the school, it’s only solving the issue of location, not necessarily of the shooting itself. Unless we’re saying we live in such a dangerous society that we need these kinds of measures in place for any type of crowded place—or, as the Vegas shooter pointed out, any place that might give a shooter a vantage point…. Etc.)

In short, there are some things that I’m aware of people doing to try and prevent tragic shootings, and that are outside the scope of gun control, and that I think are worth doing. (There are others I don’t think are real solutions). I don’t, however, think those things should replace gun control. I think they should work in coordination with reasonable gun control measures.

ucme's avatar

Ooh I dunno…you yanks should maybe start by not being so fucking terrified of each other

Soubresaut's avatar

NY Times on teachers’ perspectives

(Through MSN, so no pay wall.)

Thought it was relevant, and thought some others might want to read it… Teachers trying to figure out how to prepare in the event their school is a target.

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Soubresaut's avatar

This is belated, but thanks for linking to that article, @notwonderwoman. Worth the read.

Soubresaut's avatar

Grass roots movement I just heard about. Wanted to share: #oneless. I wonder how big it’ll get?

(Note: yes guns are mentioned, but it’s not gun control—just individuals voluntarily taking part in a hashtag—so I thought it would fit with this discussion?).

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

In my high school we had an armed police officer guarding the students 8am – 3pm. Someone pulled a fake gun on him in the hallway. The cop took him down and handcuffed him in half a second.

Soubresaut's avatar

Marjory Stonemane Douglas High School had an armed police officer on campus at the time of the shooting. It didn’t help.

We won’t even know if a confrontation between him and the more-heavily-armed shooter would have done any good… he couldn’t locate the shooter.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Marshall County High School (in western Kentucky) had an armed guard as well.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

WOW^^ for the land of the free the usa sure is a strange country!

SergeantQueen's avatar

I know. I was asking my dad if he ever had a cop like we do and he said no. School shootings were literally just like not a thing anyone worried about.
I know some schools have metal detectors at schools

ragingloli's avatar

And now they float the idea of arming the teachers.
You know what a school shooter calls a potentially armed teacher?
A Primary Target.

SergeantQueen's avatar

Arming the teachers is the dumbest idea I’ve ever freaking heard. The last thing they should be doing to end school shootings is to allow more guns into the schools. (aside from armed trained guards/cops)

RocketGuy's avatar

@ragingloli – One good way to upgrade your weapon is to shoot someone with a better gun…

thoughts1484's avatar

Is it possible to make it so that guns can only be fired by a matched fingerprint? So if a single mum for instance needed a gun for self defense only her fingerprint would fire the gun and the child’s fingerprint would not. Or a person breaking in. Seems a better way for more reasons than just school shootings but I know nothing about guns so this may be naive. If this was possible, even as an option, you could make it impossible for your troubled teen to use the family gun.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Technology may come to that some point in the future but firearms are more mechanical.than electrical or digital.

Storing guns safely and securely will keep troubled teens out of them.

Yellowdog's avatar

I cannot even get in a supermarket without passing an armed guard.

I cannot even get into a local elementary school.

There’s lots of protection at the bank and at the airport.
Why can just anyone enter these buildings?

Armed guards and security—just try it.
Schools are shot up and gun crime occurs because shooters know they are sitting ducks

stanleybmanly's avatar

What do you suggest when there are more guns than locks and cabinets to hold them? What do you do when the primary motive for breaking into cars, is to recover the gun hidden under the drivers seat? What happens when every retail outlet has an armed minimum wage guard? Is your local 711 going to finance the training of some single mom in a cheap uniform?

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Yellowdog “Schools are shot up and gun crime occurs because shooters know they are sitting ducks”

Ever notice that school shooters are always students or former students of those schools? They’re not, contrary to the popular NRA talking point, choosing schools because the schools are gun-free zones. They’re choosing their schools because that’s where their vendettas are.

Plus, that I know of, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Marshall County High School and Columbine all had armed officers on campus. So much for that notion…

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