The truth of the matter is that no one wants to see another school shooting. On that, we have near-universal agreement among all parties. I say near-universal because I’m quite sure there are a handful of jackwagons who see dead kids as the easiest path to whatever their goals might be. Most people, though? They don’t want to see it. They don’t at all.
Where we have a disconnect is how best to prevent such things.
Gun control supporters, unsurprisingly, see gun control as the only potential solution. They seem to almost universally oppose any other proposals that don’t center on gun control.
Also unsurprisingly, gun rights supporters aren’t likely to give up their gun rights when they don’t think gun control would do a damn thing. After all, most school shootings are carried out with stolen guns, which is already illegal. As is the whole “killing a bunch of school kids” thing, of course. Those laws aren’t much in the way of a deterrent.
However, at one Rhode Island school district, they’re at least trying to do something that doesn’t involve guns. And they’re working with a group that sprang up in the aftermath of Sandy Hook to do it.
Chariho School District administrators learned about the Say Something anonymous reporting system during a webinar on Tuesday and plan to launch the program later this year. Say Something is a nationwide initiative of the Sandy Hook Promise group. Also in attendance for the presentation at the high school library were members of police departments from the three Chariho towns.
Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit, was formed after the fatal shootings of 20 children and six adults by Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in 2012.
In the webinar, Neal Larkin of Sandy Hook Promise said that the goal of the Say Something program is to intervene before a school tragedy occurs.
“We are not about gun control,” he said. “We are above the politics. We are really all focused on the behavioral side, the human side of gun violence.”
“Most mass shootings are planned for six months or longer,” Larkin said. “The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter was planning his act for well over a year. People who intend to commit suicide tell someone, or more than one person, of their intentions or give out very clear and strong warning signs. It’s really well-studied and well-documented that troubled youth display patterns of behavior where there are some good days, even good weeks, and then they cycle back to really troubling and dark days. These are the times … that there are opportunities to get this person help.”
Wow. That might actually do some good.
Don’t get me wrong, I also expect it’ll lead to a lot of false positives. There will be those who will call attention to the weird kid in school, that person who wouldn’t hurt a fly, but is strange enough that everything thinks there’s something wrong with him. That is, unfortunately, unavoidable.
What is avoidable, potentially, are mass shootings by students. All too often, we hear about all these “red flags” popping up after a shooting, all these warnings that someone should have seen and acted upon but no one did.
It sounds like this program is trying to fix that.
Note also that they aren’t interested in politics. That’s probably a good thing for an effort like this. Now, it’s very difficult to oppose this on the grounds that the wrong side supports it. Instead, it can focus on the mission.
Let’s just hope it can do some good.