- Cullman, Alabama


January 13, 2013

EDITORIAL: Lurking behind the violence

CULLMAN — When Cullman Police Chief Kenny Culpepper asked the question, “Can we save everyone?”, the answer was a sobering, “Probably not.”

Standing before a crowd of educators last week to go over plans for increasing safety at area schools, in the aftermath of the shooting deaths in Newtown, Conn., Culpepper and other law enforcement officials joined with school personnel in reviewing plans and offering some new methods of protecting students and teachers.

Some of the measures include reinforced doors with stronger glass and classroom doors with deadbolts — all delaying actions that could save lives while police speed toward a potential outbreak of violence at a school.

The scene in Cullman is similar to what is happening across the nation. Officials and parents are working closely to find ways to stop or reduce the carnage of a gunman bursting into a school.

There was a time when many communities felt immune from the horrible scenes that were reported in Oregon, Colorado and most recently Connecticut. But Americans are seeing that no place in the country is guaranteed a pass from such violence.

Many of the crimes committed against children in schools, or a movie theater or shopping mall, have been unfolding in some of the most peaceful settings in the nation. The motivation for the violence is unclear. Investigations have shown that some of the individuals responsible for the crimes were loners, struggling to fit into society. Many of the shooters were also known their academic excellence and abilities to be something more than what they eventually became in life.

Some people blame reductions in mental health care, violent video games, movies and television shows, the decline of the American family, and the easy availability of weapons designed for mass destruction. The more narrow view focus on one issue, but all indications point to a variety of causes behind the violence.

Communities are being forced to create fortresses to protect their children, and under the circumstance that is appropriate. But attention should be turned to the issues — all of them — that appear to be driving senseless violence into our lives.

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