The Times West Virginian

Opinion

January 16, 2014

We have to be proactive in finding ways to provide help for troubled children

Whenever there is a mass shooting, there is inevitably a debate between the warring sides of more gun control versus Second Amendment rights.

We’re not going to talk about that.

That’s a sad situation our nation has fallen victim to too many times. We are a reactive society. When a crisis occurs, we point fingers. We lay blame. We insist on changing laws and practices to prevent something like that from happening ever again.

We should be a proactive nation. We should talk about the problems we face, study the issues, come up with solutions and work to establish best practices before a crisis happens.

But it’s easier to blame, isn’t it? It’s much harder to see flaws, admit that there are flaws and fix them.

Our hearts broke on Tuesday when reports began to hit the wires about a shooting at Berrendo Middle School in Roswell, N.M.

For what seemed like an eternity, law-enforcement officers secured the scene before we knew exactly how many people were injured and whether anyone was killed in the shooting.

When the dust settled, we all learned together that a seventh-grade boy was the shooter, having apparently brought a sawed-off shotgun in his backpack. He pulled the gun out and shot two students waiting for the school day to begin, a 13-year-old girl who is in stable condition and an 11-year-old boy, who remains in critical condition following two surgeries.

A teacher, John Masterson, walked up to the student and persuaded him to put down the gun. The child followed his instructions, possibly sparing others from serious injury or even saving lives.

We will not focus on gun control right now. We will not point fingers. We will not lay blame.

But we have a few words we do want to say.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the children injured in the shooting, their family members, the students of Berrendo Middle School who are hurting right now, and with the greater community of Roswell.

No child should have to worry that one day in middle school will be their last day on Earth. No parent should fear that dropping a child off at school could mean you would lose them forever. No student should have to witness the horror of watching fellow classmates sustain gunshot wounds by the hands of a peer.

And we are thankful for the man who risked his own life in a very real way to speak to the student and convince him to end the rampage.

And our thoughts are not very far from the suspect, the child authorities believe was responsible for the crime. We have to remember that this is a child, someone who is not considered capable of making legal decisions in any state of the union.

This child was in so much mental anguish that he apparently plotted this attack. Posts to social media apparently show that at least the night before, he knew he would commit this crime and cryptically said it was the first day he was looking forward to going to school.

Where that mental anguish came from, we do not know and may never really know. Whether it was internal because of an illness, the result of physical or emotional abuse at the hands of adults or because of bullying of peers, this child was in pain and was incapable of finding another way to stop from hurting other than to gravely injure his own classmates.

Right now, let’s focus on healing from yet another hit to our nation. Let’s not start a rousing debate about gun control at the dinner table, on social media or in the halls of the Capitol.

Instead, can we focus on the social ills that brought us to this and other crises? Can we focus on what is happening to children in their homes, online and in the schools?

There is a generation in need of help in many ways, and we have to be proactive in finding ways to help them.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Unsung heroes handling calls in emergencies are appreciated

    Thankfully, we live in a community where help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just by dialing three numbers — 9-1-1.
    During this week, which is recognized as National Public Safety Tele-Communicator’s Week nationwide, we need to remember that on the other end of that line are the men and women here in this county who are always there in case of accident, crimes, medical emergencies and any other catastrophic event.

    April 18, 2014

  • Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives

    A figure that we haven’t seen that much in recent years is the highway death toll for a given period.
    Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?
    The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.

    April 17, 2014

  • State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary

    Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
    For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
    Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.

    April 16, 2014

  • Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better

    When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
    So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.

    April 13, 2014

  • COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable

    Instant.
    That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
    But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
    Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!

    April 13, 2014

  • Decision to be an organ donor can save lives

    Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
    So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.

    April 11, 2014

  • Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community

    Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
    Marion County is full of volunteers.
    They read to our youth.
    They assist nonprofit agencies.
    They serve on boards and committees.
    And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.

    April 10, 2014

  • Proposed school calendar lives up to letter and spirit of law

    West Virginia state law requires that students be in a classroom for 180 days.

    April 9, 2014

  • Strong Fairmont General Hospital badly needed to serve our region

    Mere minutes often matter when it comes to emergency health care.
    That’s why we need a strong Fairmont General Hospital.
    When patients need the services of health-care professionals, having family and friends close at hand is often essential, and their presence may even lead to a better outcome.

    April 6, 2014

  • COLUMN: Fairmont General Hospital vital part of community

    There’s nothing better than holding a newborn baby. It gives you a little feeling that not only is everything right in the world, but this perfect little human represents hope of a future where things will be better than they are today.
    I had that blessed opportunity to hold that hopeful future in my arms last week when I visited my dear friend Jen and her newborn son Tristan at Fairmont General Hospital.

    April 6, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Politics
House Ads