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School Shooting - Who's to Blame?
March 5, 2001
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• Page One of this article - Yet Another School Shooting
• Take a Kid Hunting - Kids & Guns
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"Great just what we need, haven't people figured out that these kids just want attention? What is better for attention than national media coverage. Now they will blame the guns again, but doesn't California have really strict gun laws??"
 
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(Page 2 of 2)

Page One >> Yet Another School Shooting

In the days of my father's youth, it was routine for he and his friends to strap their guns to the handlebars of their bicycles and take a ride through town to the nearest patch of woods to hunt and/or shoot. This was the norm in many areas of the country. In those days, a far higher percentage of kids in this country had guns, and almost no one kept them locked up. How many school shootings occurred back then?

Call the date 1947 for an example, Dad would have been in his early teens that year. I'm willing to bet (and I'm not a gambling man) that there were zero incidents of a youngster toting his gun to school to use against anyone at all back then. In fact, Dad won several marksmanship medals in ROTC when he was in high school. They fired guns as a school-related activity, and no one ever got shot. Amazing, huh? The network newsies would have you believe that's not possible, but it's been fact throughout our country's history that more guns plus proper education about guns (i.e. learning how to hunt and shoot) equals less crime.

What I'm trying to say is that our society's problem with violence, be it in school or out, is not gun-related in the least. It is a problem of culture, of conditioning and education (or the lack thereof).

I grew up in a house with guns in it. Many of those guns were loaded and easily accessible, and my sister and I knew where they were. I know of many people who were raised in similar homes, and none of us ever played with guns or shot anyone. Why? Because we were educated about the guns.

As I've written in these pages before, Dad taught us how the guns worked, let us handle them and shoot them under his supervision. He taught us that they could kill if misused. He took the mystery out of guns, so we had no desire or perceived need to mess with the guns when he was not around. It's one of the most basic facts of life that if you make something taboo, it becomes somehow more alluring -- that's just basic human nature. This is especially true of kids, as we all know, having been children ourselves at some time. Make a gun into a mysterious object of power (rather than the tool it actually is) and you're begging for trouble.

Sensationalism is a big thing for news agencies, always has been. Generate a buzz, stir things up, get some attention. Why? Because it brings viewers to the nightly news which generates more ad revenue, and it sells newspapers. Money makes their world go 'round, after all. Anyone who believes that the major news media report only the facts without adding their own brand of spin is just plain naive, there's no two ways about it. So please be extra-cautious about taking anyone's word for what's to blame here, even mine. Consider the facts yourself, look at all sides, and decide what the problem is here... gun or man?

Let's focus on education, not legislation, and let's not demonize inanimate objects. I don't think I've ever heard cries to ban cars due to increased incidence of hit-and-run crashes or drunk driving, because it's not the car's fault. It's not the alcohol's fault, either -- look how successful Prohibition was.

Educate a friend,

Russ Chastain

Page One >> Yet Another School Shooting

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