As I drove by the Arvada West students who were protesting, I could not help but think that this is just a small part of what is happening. We had plenty of guns out there before the 1980s, but we didn’t have the type of violence we are seeing now. There are many reasons we have a second amendment, which gives us our right to bear arms. These reasons are not part of the problem. We have had a change in the mindset of our society. The days of leaving your .22 rifle in the car or truck and going shooting after school are pretty much gone except in a few remaining rural communities. Gun restriction laws will not help the current problem. However, better, and more effective background checks might be a good place to start.
The current leniency toward criminals has not helped the situation. If we do not have consequences for crime, we are promoting crime. This is a lesson that some of our large cities seem to have missed. The “Broken Windows” theory of crime prevention did work. It is not the guns that are the problem, it is the criminals. The lack of consequences is creating an entirely new group of villains. It is not just gun violence, it is violence itself that is the problem. This would be a better place for our students and our city governments to put their efforts. How are we going to show our students that we are serious about fixing the problem?
So, what can and should be done at the student level to address the reasons for the demonstrations/protests? Our schools should be teaching about kindness toward others as a general principle and absolutely not be involved in things that are the province of parents. The use of school Resource Officers had been under scrutiny, this was a huge mistake. These are some of the most valuable assets a school can have. One should be present at every school, full time. Educating students about government, the constitution and reasons for it is essential. Education about guns and gun safety would remove some of the mystery and mystic around guns.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. The best thing we can do for our students, is for government to do its’ job. Treat law abiding citizens with respect and treat the criminals as criminals and stop putting them back out on the street prematurely. Set up the schools so that the students can be protected as some private schools have done quite well. This is a multifaceted problem and needs to be addressed as such. How will we show our students that we are taking this seriously? How will we bring back our value system?
William F Hineser, Arvada