Just before noon today a man was shot in a school shooting at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). The cause of the shooting? A fight. Just a fight. Thankfully, the victim was only shot in the hand, but it goes without saying that he never should have been shot at all. That gun should never have been on campus.
This shooting is slightly different from others we’ve seen in the past few years. The biggest difference, of course, is that it took place on a college campus. With the exception of the massacre at Virginia Tech, most school shootings we hear about take place in high schools, the home base for troubled kids.
All the same, this new shooting raises the question (yet again): How are we going to keep guns out of our schools?
I am, by far, not an expert on the subject of guns or crazed college kids, but the way I see it, there are three ways we can approach this.
The first is to keep kids from even wanting to bring guns to school. This has to start both at home and at school, with parents, teachers and other students being more aware. We have to start noticing when something is wrong with our kids – even college kids. If they are mentally ill, there are signs. If they are constantly beefing with another student, someone will know.
We shouldn’t encourage a tattle-tale culture, where people are reported indiscriminately, but be should be cultivating a culture of awareness. We should be telling our kids that it’s okay to mention to someone in authority that Johnny has really been more than a little off lately. We should be approaching kids who turn in screenplays depicting extreme violence to find out what’s really going on in their heads. Hopefully, at that point, the problem can be addressed directly and the situation diffused to the point where guns are no longer deemed necessary.
We’ve also got to keep guns themselves away from the kids. This is probably the hardest thing to do: guns are everywhere and if you really want one, you’ll find a way to get one. But cracking down on gun show sales goes a long way. Making sure parents lock up their guns goes even further. There are no easy solutions to guns on the streets, but we can work much, much harder to make guns a lot less appealing to kids.
And we have to keep the guns out of the schools. This may be next to impossible on open campuses like MTSU, but we can at least make some headway. Call it a police state, but put those metal detectors in every entrance to every high school. I went to school with metal detectors. It was really no big deal – the worst part was getting to class on time. The same goes for college campuses. Put in the metal detectors, institute random bag searches, but make sure those guns don’t get onto campus however you can.
Over-reactionary? Maybe. Usually I fall on the libertarian side of things. I’m all for gun rights. But I’m not for guns in the hands of kids, and we have to start being more proactive about how we prevent that.
How do you propose we keep guns out of the schools?
Image via kcdsTM/Flickr