Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Has science found a way to prevent school shootings?

The following article appeared in the American Thinker on March 5th

Having long been a critic of the political bias found in Scientific American, I must now give credit where credit is due.  Its recent commentary on school shootings offered specific and tested preventive measures, and to my surprise, they do not include repealing the Second Amendment.

The commentary is titled "If You Want to Know How to Stop School Shootings, Ask the Secret Service."  Its concluding words are "The issue is whether authorities need more power to intervene once they have been made aware of a potential threat, or whether they just need to do a better job with the power they already have."

The Secret Service provides the bodyguards who protect the president, among others.  It could not do its job simply by waiting for an assassination attempt.  It must assess the risk beforehand, and this includes establishing profiles of potential assassins.  Doing so, agents can prevent a killing before it even gets past the planning stage.  The same principle can be applied to school shooters.

According to the Secret Service, past school shootings were predictable and preventable.  School shooters usually become dangerous only after they have followed a detectable pattern of behavior, and much of this behavior is so obvious that it raises the so-called red flags that were overlooked or ignored by law enforcement prior to the Parkland massacre.  The killers in most cases even openly announce their intentions beforehand.

When something so terrible is so readily preventable – I am not saying it is easy, but it is doable – then we must ask whether official malfeasance should be considered not only cause for dismissal from employment, but an actual and separate crime in itself.  A lifeguard who knows he is afraid of water must be held accountable when someone drowns.

Unfortunately, some sheriffs get elected by being capable politicians, even when they are not competent law enforcement professionals.  If the voting public is that neglectful of its responsibility, then there is no answer for that.

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