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Due to the horrific happenings of a few weeks ago in Florida, once again we find ourselves, along with the rest of the world community screaming for mor gun control in our nation.  Everyone has opinions and I must say have a right to those opinions.  I will just take one moment to state how this writer feels about others' opinions.  Firstly many men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice for those of us priviledged enough to be a ciitizen of this nation and I will fight just as strongly for all of those rights they fought so desperately to afford us. It is also my opinion that listening politely to the opinions of others could possibly bring solutions to the problems at hand.  

Now, what follows is this great grandma's personal opinion.  Take it for what it is:  the heartfelt feelings of an older woman with no legal degree, just simply 65 years of living and loving others.  I am not a crackpot, although at times I may seem to be and the Good LORD knows I am not even a smidgen close to being perfect, so please bear with me while I get this off my chest.  

From what I have gathered from news reports, there were erors made prior to the massacre in Florida.  For starters, it is my understanding that the all powerful FBI had information on the young man who committed the atrocities, and did not follow up or even try to speak to the offender.  Also, I have been given to understand that his psychiatrist was aware of his voletile mind set and refused to repor it because of the dreaded HIPA Laws.  Forgive me on this last failure to report because having been an outpatient psychiatric secretary for several years and a mental health patiient for even more years than that, I have always been told by my care givers that if I show signs of suicidal or homicidal ideation, I will be reported to the authorities for my own and the public's protection.  I DO hold the mental health community a lot of the responsibility for this getting to this point if what I understand is true.  

There has also been some blame placed on the shoulders of students who knew the shooter but were afraid of him because none of them reported his mind set.  This grandma's heart screams out at this one because even though they are considered "young adults", they are still children at heart and get scared.  Also, if the FBI and the menntal health community set an example of failure to report, how can anyone expect a "young adult" to trust those in charge of the system already in place to follow through on their reports?  

To my way of thinking it isn't the gun laws that need strengthening but those who are supposed to be enforcing those laws.  As for the mental health issues, I DO see why people like me who have some emotional issues should not have guns or access to guns.  (We do have guns in our home, but all have trigger locks, fiiring pins removed andallamo is locked away and I know not where that is.)  I have access, BUT how would I use them?  I suppose as a ball bat.  The thought or opinion I have on the mentalhealth restrictions is this:  The powers that be do need to correct what I consider tobe a big flaw in the wording of that one.  I believe that they should not limit mental illness to a simple background check, but to an entire battery of relevant testing psychiatrically.  Also those doing the backgound checks need to be more observant and possibly critical and make their errors on the side of the innocent public than the indidual's right to keep and bare arms.  

Also, I would urge the concerned public to stay calm when these things happen (although they should never have happened to begin with).  I know easier said than done, but we need to keep cool heads while officials do their investigating and wait to hear the facts, ALL of the facts.

So, I hope that my opinions have not offended anyone.  That is nor was it my intention.  Plus I hoped to come off a bit cooler headed than some and offer maybe one good suggestion.  Now, a penny for your thoughts.

 

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  • This reply was deleted.
    • Sister! WOW you have given me more information and that information sickens me as it should all of us.  Some are blaming those youngsters but none knew that some had already spoken up and it came on deaf ears!  These things sicken me jjust as they do others like Broter Derek and yourself (I am sure).  Is there not anything people like us with moral fortitude bebhind us to go or say or what to do?  I am good at sitting here in my dining room and puting my feeliings down here in a blog.  However, unless it is highly  publicized I don't listen to the news.  The things that are highly publicized are yellled about by my husband. 

      I would also like to add this question into the mix while speaking of the children placing reports, how is it we can openly place blame on them when we seem to have no blame for those officers who paid no heed to the young high schoolers cry for something to be done.  

      In my humble opinion, those who knew something and did not a thing should be held accountable..  Accountable how?  I have no idea on an answer,, but if we all put our minds to work, COULD we, honest, caring Christians help to solve this before another event shows itself?  

  • This is a good article/discussion you have created Terry.  You have touched on many points.  I doubt if anyone is going to be offended as you have sounded well balanced and have invited responses.

    Going back to your title, I would say the second clause is the answer.  We need proper enforecement of what is already in place.  Several people, and the FBI too, have dropped the ball with a sort of indifference.  A lack of watchfulness and follow ups took place.  Everyone just sort of presumed that someone else was helping the lad.  A few people should have been more watchful of this deranged boy.  It is so sad.  Some news organizations have rightfully mentioned this whereas others decided that sensationalism and even blaming Trump was more important.

    We live in a nation of over 300 million people and some disaster or incident is going to happen no matter what anyone does because people are not perfect.  There is just too many possibilities of things going bad.  We need to decrease the possibilities of these sad incidents by increasing security and being more watchful.  Every school needs to be more watchful and lock doors and windows more, except for emergency doors.  Each school should adopt a plan to keep students/people safe.  Just a few differences would stop the great majority of these tradgedies.

    • Thank you Pastor Steve for you kind comment regarding the gun control iissues.  I don't know what I was thinking because I do so hte conflict and thedn I write an article like this one.  I must agree with you, I too believe that more/better enforcement of the gun laws that are already in place is the answer.  I also believe that this is such a volatile issue that one day it may come to fighting in the street over opinions.  My mind is probably exagerating on that, but it is an honest fear that I have.  I am after all a fraidey cat, but this old woman is not about to become the neighborhood old lady with the zoo full of cats just to have their company and protection.  I am going to say good night and GOD  Bless all who offered opinions.  

    • I used to participate in a restorative justice panel. A judge who didn't wish to expose a young offender can recommend restorative justice instead of jail. During the meeting, the offender tells what he/she did and owns up to it. The panel is made up of residents in the area affected by the crime. It's usually something like smoking or selling marijauna. Strictly no gun crimes. It could be a marijuana crime, graffiti, vandalism or maybe littering. The offender is someone who has reached the point in their life they can go either way. In the meeting, the residents explain how the crime affected them and their neighborhood. Then the panel discusses how the offender can make amends. It's usually a letter of apology to the local newspaper and community service. Sometimes I'll see kids walking through the neighborhood picking up trash or pulling weeds in the community garden. I know they're making amends. The offenders are supervised. If offenders make amends, then the sentence is dropped. If they don't make amends, then the original sentence is restored. The offender owns up to what they did and makes amends to the people in the neighborhood. In this case, I'd say the judge and neighborhood haven't dropped the ball. Maybe strong mentor(s) are needed. A restorative justice panel can recommend a mentor. The best part of all. The panel knows their neighborhood and the resources they have.

      The youngster I remember the most was 16 years old. He sold marijuana one time and got caught. He said he did it because he was bored. Here's the thing, he was very smart. He was spouting the law. The panel knows what the offender has done and says whether or not they will talk to the offender. So the panel knows the offender before the meeting, but the offender knows very little about the panel. So I could go in with some legal knowledge and listen to a 16-year-old kid spouting the law and know if he was full of prunes or not. Most of the panel members think he's a dumb kid. I'm thinking...God, why is he wasting his life? He's smart and bored. He's just barely begun to go down the wrong path. The panel found a mentor for the kid. I hope he studied the law. Practicing law is where he belongs. He wrote a letter of apology to the local newspaper. He did 2 hours of community service and made amends. I hope he remembers what I said, that he would be a good lawyer.

      I'm thinking if we could catch offenders earlier, it might change everything for a young person.

      God bless,

      Mary

      • We have this in the UK, where the offender meets face to face with the owner of the property they were arrested for burglarising.  They share how it made them feel, etc. there is also a probation officer there to guide the discussion along; there have been remarkable outcomes, particularly with the 14 to 18 year olds.  Some were asked to do (or help) repairs where they had caused damage to the property.  Some even stayed friends, became adopted grandchildren, and kept in touch.  This also happened where an older person was beaten up, that was incredible, and in some cases the offender became the carer.

      • Sorry about the grammar.  :-)

    • You make good points Steve, but honestly, isn't this just treating the symptoms rather than the cause of the sickness?  Of course, a country of 300 million people has a higher number of such incidents, but the statistics are adjusted for 100,000 head of population, so as to 'scale' the figures.

      Using UN statistics, quoted through the British newspapre 'The Guardian'

      The US has the highest gun ownership rate in the world - an average of 88 per 100 people. That puts it first in the world for gun ownership - and even the number two country, Yemen, has significantly fewer - 54.8 per 100 people
      But the US does not have the worst firearm murder rate - that prize belongs to Honduras, El Salvador and Jamaica. In fact, the US is number 28, with a rate of 2.97 per 100,000 people.

  • I live in an area that is known for a lot of crime. It's improving. Thank you God! I don't see the need for a semi-automatic weapon in a home or residential neighborhood.

    Owning a gun for hunting is different to me. I know a person who enjoys deer hunting and makes a nice deer sausage. His gun is locked away or secured. Another friend owns a handgun. He's licensed. He enjoys target practice at the local gun range. His gun is also under lock and key. 

    I don't like the idea of arming school teachers because it could become a shoot out. No offense to anyone's ideas. Here on the north side, we've had innocent bystanders get hit by stray bullets. I wouldn't want my child in a school with armed teachers. There's always the chance of a teacher being overpowered for their weapon. 

    I think it's a good idea to the age requirement for people who want to purchase a gun. But then you also have the argument 18-yr-olds in the military carry guns. It's not like they keep the weapons. They turn in their weapons when decomissioned. But maybe we should raise the age for people who join the military. I can see a background check for people who wish to purchase a weapon. I can see licensing. I feel psychological tests are invasive, but I still like background checks.

    God bless,

    Mary

    • You make a good point Mary, that teachers may get overpowered for their weapon, if you are a weapon-carrying police officer, and you visit someone in prison, you hand your weapon in, for obvious resons.  It's about introducing weapons into a weapons-free environment.  I do also believe that if one of these 'sik-o's' (???) brings a firearm to school, the reacher/s may be the first target/s, whether they are carrying a weapon or not.  So the move may actually place teachers in danger, generally.

      Prior to 2001 I lived in a high crime area also, we lived there by choice because we served through the church in that area, I also worked in the Criminal Justice field (which side I was perceived to work in, I was never shore).  We never had any gun-crime in the area during the twenty years I lived there, couple of non-fatal stabbings, but mostly street fights, robery, muggings, car theft and such.  We got burguled once but some local crims got some of the stuff back for us.

    • Last paragraph, I think it's a good idea to raise the age requirement for people who want to purchase a gun.

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