How many school shootings will it take before lessons are learned?
What makes killing so easy? What makes killing innocent people any easier? From what level of hell’s fiery depths must such hatred emerge to murder someone?
The killing of Darren Mack’s estranged wife by his alleged murderous hand made me wonder. Now the reported slaying of Nevada state Controller Kathy Augustine by her 42-year-old husband, Chaz Higgs, made me think even more. This week’s unspeakably fatal shootings of little Amish schoolgirls in their classroom in Nickel Mines, Pa., made my stomach spoil, and dreadfully reminded me that hell rules our ungodly world.
Little kids, shot execution style. Execution style! Unassuming children whose toughest assignment that day was to open a textbook and stay awake while their teacher spoke found themselves instead in a short death walk to the front of the classroom – the only classroom in the schoolhouse – not as punishment for talking in class or for recital, but in an exercise of deliberated elimination. Upon command, the claustrophobic classroom became the setting for a slow-motion, heart-stalling fire drill for those about to die as a selfish, demon-afflicted coward lined them up, took aim, and interrupted the class with life-snuffing disturbance.
Put yourself in the now-anguished heads of those parents whose daughters were gunned down with such conscienceless tombstone coldness. No religion, no faith and no logic can ever be so omnipotent to overpower and lend solace to the emotional fractures caused by such an intolerable termination of human life not yet fully pronounced.
When will the state and federal governments of our nation cry “Uncle!” and propose bills to provide the schools of America with better security than just blackboard erasers thrown overhand? When will the nerve-splitting cries of innocent children be loud enough for our government to listen? How deep must the puddles of blood and fear-flooded urine be for our government to reach out from under it all with a hand that will grasp for safety in our schools?
Small business and major companies can have security in their workplaces, at their discretion. It is a decision predicated on degrees of expense and priority. Schools do not have that discretion. They do not have that money so readily available. They must be funded.
Right now, there are politicians who may be thinking how impossible it is to achieve what is truly essential. What is essential in this case is fortress-strong security. Start with the schools. I’m telling you, folks, for a country so smart, we are so very stupid. Very stupid. The fearful teaching of school shootings hasn’t taught us a thing. Our federal government in particular gets an “F” for not paying attention, and an “S” for stupidity. We send troops to Iraq, we throw money into our military, but we slight the real wars that we face here in America every day. The body count of dead kids from school shootings still isn’t enough to those who can make a difference.
It doesn’t take a big brain to know that any public building is open to attack. But we are talking about schools. And the attacks and death threats to schools have happened far too often.
We have maximum security in government buildings, courthouses and major corporations, but not in schools where little kids (and teachers) have no chance of defending themselves. And it is needed badly. I’m talking about top-grade security – enclosed glass reception areas with security keys and metal detectors, sign-in-and-out logs and ID badges for visitors.
What the incident speaks of is nothing new. Just more horror. Much more. But is it reaching new ears? Is the desperate beat of its drums in the same ears that it has tried so vainly to convince with each likened tragedy muffled to only silence? Or is the death count of innocent children piled so high that it has blocked the view of our federal government?
• John DiMambro is publisher of the Nevada Appeal. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.