Letter to the Editor

What can be done?

Monday, May 21, 2018

If there's one thing the disturbed cowards who shoot up schools have in common, it seems to be this: the vast majority, in recent memory, are teenage males. Many are adults in the physical sense, but they so frequently are the bullied, the outcasts, the alienated, the incapacitated.

Given the above scenario, it is fair to say that every high school (perhaps even middle school) in America houses one or more students who fit this profile. They are able to acquire all sorts of firearms legally, illegally, or simply by borrowing them from one or more family members who has them in their possession.

Clearly in these cases it isn't the gun/weapon that is the culprit. Dare we say it is the young male who feels slighted, bullied, disrespected, ignored, left out, vilified or somehow wronged? Might they be the abused we so ineptly treat with a "broken" mental health system?

What can be done? Are our school principals, superintendents, teachers periodically (start of the school year, at end of first semester, and at the conclusion of the academic year) reviewing the files/records of the possible malcontents they may have in their respective buildings? Identifying those students who have been the subject of discipline, suspension, or expulsion would seem to be a good first step. It is unacceptable to think "it couldn't happen here. The experience of dozens of communities defies that belief. When students/former students are feeling hopeless, put down, misunderstood, it is often just an additional step and they are caught up in a fatal, downward spiral. We all need hope; where will they find theirs?

Bill Kersting, Spencer