In reference to the proliferation of senseless and brutal mass murders of innocent people many have offered solutions, all have been largely ignored.

As usual, the answer is all of the above, or, in this case, all of the below:

One very sensible solution is to increase security at schools. As a teacher for 33 years, I can tell you increased security at schools is a great and even necessary step, but it is a step with some pitfalls and flaws. The most obvious problem is money. Think of all the schools and mentally multiply them by the costs involved in hardening their perimeters and hiring additional security. The resulting numbers would be staggering but potentially necessary. In Uvalde, as in most schools, a less expensive solution was tried, locking the doors going in while leaving push bars on the doors so students can easily go out to classes in portables and other buildings. From experience, it doesn’t work very well. As soon as the flow of students at class change slows, the doors close and lock. Then you have the stragglers banging on the doors trying to avoid being tardy. Usually, a well-meaning teacher will prop the door open for them before going into his or her classroom. That is exactly what happened in Uvalde.

We learned last year that school can be successfully conducted via Zoom. The solution of Zoom Schools is a viable solution, but like the idea of increased security, there are some problems with it. First, it takes an on-the-ball, tech-savvy teacher like the one my step-grandson had. It also requires pretty constant supervision at home of the student. Believe me, not all teachers and not all students can successfully work in Zoom mode. Another problem is a decreased opportunity for social contact, but that could be ameliorated with after school activities.

The solution that seems to draw the most visceral objections is gun restrictions. The 2nd amendment rights people must have their concerns addressed, while we, at the same time, do more to keep guns out of the hands of violent offenders and the mentally unstable. There is no easy fix, but some things can and must be done: background checks (The Uvalde shooter bought two guns legally the same day as the shooting), restrictions on selling to anyone flagged as mentally unstable, and restricting assault weapons to the military, for instance.

The biggest problem, I believe, is a mental health crisis, which implies a mental health solution. The picture I have chosen for this post is not meant to represent the real victims or their families. The picture is meant to represent the mental state of those who perpetrate these horrible crimes. Too many people have come to believe that society is out to get them. Their identity as a victim is a self-fulfilling prophesy. Of course, we all see ourselves as occasional victims of circumstances. That much is normal. The problem is when we cannot climb out of the abyss we dig for ourselves by seeing ourselves as hopelessly victimized.