- Cullman, Alabama

February 21, 2013

EDITORIAL: Solutions to violent behavior

The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — Society has finally declined to the point that armed officers are needed in every school.

Cullman city schools and the city council are pooling financial resources to train and hire retired officers to guard schools against potential threats. Following the slaughter of children and teachers in Newtown, Conn., the decision to bring guns to school legally was bound to happen.

Before the horror in Newtown, the nation had witnessed numerous mass killings, from Columbine to a movie theater, hoping that the madness would stop. Even since the attack on elementary students in Newtown, several violent incidents have occurred. There is no indication that the violence will stop.

At this point, the immediate solution is to arm officers and place them in schools. The expense will be tremendous across the nation, but leaders largely agree that few choices remain.

In the meantime, politicians have turned the issue into an argument solely about gun control, raising fears that the Second Amendment may be compromised. The key in any argument about guns and violence is to improve background checks and find a reasonable agreement concerning the size of ammunition magazines.

What has become lost in the grandstanding is the need for improved mental health care funding. The individuals who have brought destruction upon innocent families across the country all had problems that related to mental health. Because mental health remains a sensitive topic in American life, the funding for expanding the reach of this vital health care is not improving.

Children from this point forward will face a school experience unlike any generation before. Much of the joy and innocence of school years has been taken away by unthinkable violence. The armed guards may deter some violence, but without a more rounded approach to the violence that grips society, another tragedy may be difficult to avoid.