Paul Dame: Real solutions needed to stop left’s exploitation of school shootings

This commentary is by Paul Dame, chair of the Vermont GOP.

Just a few weeks ago we had another tragedy where a murderer was able to gain access to a school in Uvalde, Texas. There is still a sense of shock and frustration about what happened, and many questions left unanswered. There are the obvious questions specific to this incident, like how did the murderer get inside the school? Why did police do nothing while the murderer was inside?

Paul Dame, chairman of the Vermont GOP

But there are also deeper questions that we have to ask ourselves about the broader story — a story that goes back to 1999 and Columbine High School. It was the first mass school shooting to capture national attention.

A lot has happened since then, but not much has changed. Unfortunately, similar events unfolded at other schools in the following years. There have been 15 deadly mass shootings (which the FBI defines as having 4 or more victims) in the 20+ years since Columbine.

And every time a murderer makes their way in to the school, the next day Democrats are on TV to belittle the moment for “thoughts and prayers” and whip out whatever gun control legislation they have on the shelf.

They act as if the solution to school shootings is to either take some guns away from all people, or take all guns away from some people. But if that approach will help, how did this trend of school shootings START in the middle of the 1992 assault weapons ban? There must be something else going on.

This is a fundamental flaw in many solutions that Democrats often champion. The always have a solution that is simple to explain, but rarely addresses the underlying cause. It has the characteristic of “feeling” good, without objectively “doing” good.

But even if Republicans are right when we point this out, we can’t stop there. I stand with every other Republican who thinks the phrase “Shall not infringe” in the Second Amendment is pretty clear. But if we don’t come together to offer real solutions, then we are going to be stuck in this playback loop over and over again. And every time there is another shooting the pressure will mount, making it harder and harder to resist, until one day we snap like Australia and throw away our rights for lack of a better alternative.

If Republicans are serious about protecting our Second Amendment rights now and for the future, we need to get serious about addressing this issue, and engaging in new conversations to find new solutions. I don’t have the answers. But we need to start asking the right questions.

The first question I have is “What is happening in our schools?” It seems like the pattern for these mass murders often involved a young white male, usually under 25 who often kills a family member first, and then heads to school. Why? That is the million dollar question. Why are they going to their school? What happened at their school that has filled them with such rage that they literally become mass murderers? What were the conditions like for similar young white men in the ’90s (and before) that created an environment where this didn’t seem to happen so frequently? Is it the parenting? Society? School culture?

I honestly don’t have a lot of answers — but that sometimes means those are the best questions to ask if we want to get the understanding of the issues needed to get to the root of the problem. Clamping down on guns without addressing the underlying issue just means that we should be prepared to see the same kind of aggressive behavior, but without access to guns it may manifest itself in unexpected ways we are not as prepared for.

But in the meantime while we address the root cause, or at least learn how to better identify the people who are most likely to be affected by it, we ought to take a look at our schools. While the idea of putting a gun in the hand of every teacher is obviously a foolish non-starter, we ought to think about how we protect our community’s most valuable asset: our children.

No one wants our kids to get normalized to entering a school that feels more like a prison. Stationed armed guards, police, metal detectors, bag checks all seem to be measures that are antithetical to the Fourth Amendment, and I don’t want my kids to be conditioned that they have to give up these rights to access education. But are there non-invasive ways that we can make it harder for threats to physically enter our school buildings? I think that there are, and thankfully my kids go to a school that have taken these precautious. But many kids do not. As much as Republicans want to be careful about spending while still in $30 trillion of debt, I think giving our schools the equipment upgrades needed to protect our kids is something we can all make room for in the federal budget. And while I might only speak for myself, I would be willing to prioritize that over a lot of other things we spend federal money on, including the military. Republicans could make a good case that protecting our children at school might be one of the most important national “defense” strategies we have. Not only would this protect our children from an angry gunman, but also would-be bombers, gang members, drug dealers, sexual predators and child traffickers.

I don’t have all the answers, and neither do the Democrats, despite their blustery confidence. But I do know that if we are going to actually fix the problem in America, it is going to take Republicans being unwilling to merely cross our arms and simply say “No,” and instead to do the work necessarily to start getting real answers to some of these underlying issues if we want an effective and enduring remedy to the problem of mass school murders. If we offer no better solution, then people will eventually fall for the impotent remedies offered by Democrats.

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7 thoughts on “Paul Dame: Real solutions needed to stop left’s exploitation of school shootings

  1. It’s my belief that the donks don’t want mass shootings to end. The only time they will be happy is when all Americans have been disarmed (excluding criminals of course) and therefor have no way to stand up for our Constitutional rights. If mass shootings continue then they can continue to jump up and down waving their arms about how evil guns are and that no one should be allowed to own them, except for their body guards. Interesting article about Schumers refusal to consider a step towards a solution.

  2. How about these for some real solutions?
    Our money is protected by armed guards in banks. Our nuclear power plants are protected by armed security forces. College campuses have their own armed police units. Elitist Hollywood stars and elected officials are protected by armed security even while attending anti-gun rallies. Are our children somehow less worthy of such protection as they spend most of their waking hours in “gun free” public schools? Law enforcement (if they are available) responds only after the 911 call is made…and that can be too late to save a life. School staff should be given opportunity to volunteer to be trained, armed, and ready to respond to anyone that would threaten the children in public schools. THAT’S PROTECTING THE SCHOOL CHILDREN!

    Mental health information needs to be included in the database that is accessed when doing background checks on individuals wishing to purchase firearms. Authorities must be conscientious in providing current and accurate information to that database. Law enforcement must follow up on every reported potential threat. THAT’S PROTECTING THE SCHOOL CHILDREN!

    One issue that has been overshadowed by the opioid drug crisis is that an overwhelming number of school shootings have been linked to the use of psychotropic drugs. (See the link below. It’s an older posting but still relevant)

    Too often, drugs are prescribed to make some children more “manageable” because care providers and others may lack necessary skills to deal effectively with the problems. Parents, care providers, and psychologists must end the proliferation of prescriptions that transform children into zombies and can present adverse after-effects in their later years. THAT’S PROTECTING THE SCHOOL CHILDREN!

    Democrats (RINO’s included) have exploited every shooting incident in order to further their anti-gun agenda with blatant disregard for the Constitution. Restrictions on Second Amendment rights signed into law by Governors in states like New York, California, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, and Vermont accomplish absolutely nothing in preventing violence as happened in Buffalo and Texas. Gun laws are only effective when they are duly and properly enforced, and there are plenty of gun laws at the federal level that just aren’t being duly enforced. To verify this truth, one needs only to look to Chicago. This city has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country. Yet, “mass shootings” involving children are a regular occurrence there and actual prosecutions for violating federal gun laws are only performed in a small percentage of cases. Criminals pay no attention to laws of any kind, that’s why they’re called criminals. Restrictions on firearms ownership infringes on the ability of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves against those for whom laws are irrelevant.

    Whatever your opinion of NRA’s Wayne LaPierre, he was absolutely correct when he stated, “…the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

  3. I also posted in Vt Chronicle…and my question would be to look at what has changed in schools over the 90’s or so to now……it seems we are producing the people who are committing these horrendous acts….and I’m not blaming; I merely asking to look at the system, how its changed, what was there before that isnt now, and/or what wasnt there before and is now……
    and I am all for armed persons such as law enforcement, vets, guard members ect in schools every day. i believe this would also foster a relationship with the children……that would be in the positive
    maybe they hear all kinds of views elsewhere, but at school this person is personable and friendly and protecting them……makes for a win win in my humble opinion…….

  4. This is a comment that I posted on VT Daily Chronicle.

    The first answer to this national problem is for politicians to stop blaming the people who are not responsible for these horrific crimes. NRA members are not shooting up schools or anything else. If you are thinking of banning anything, it would have to include cars, trucks, knives, bats, bombs, airplanes, etc, etc.

    Pandering politicians looking for votes from the sheeple, dusting off the gun control playbook to avoid dealing with a problem they started by legislating GUN FRRE ZONES and advertising where a criminal can safely commit murder without being stopped by a good guy with a legal gun.

    We all know the problem is the degradation of our society, lack enforcement of criminals who are in the revolving door of catch and release. The Burlington shootings demonstrate the reality that felons who should be in jail are dealing drugs and are on our streets carrying illegal guns. Most of them are not Vermonters and none of them are NRA members. But, let’s ignore these facts and go after law abiding people who owns guns.

    When they take legal guns off the street and out of the homes of good people, the criminals will wreak havoc on more people, invade more homes and murder more people. And, how does all that protect the children in schools? Mental health, Mental Health said twice so maybe it will sink in with the people who would rather waste money on trying to heal a healthy planet instead of healing our sick society.

  5. Re: “I don’t have all the answers, and neither do the Democrats, despite their blustery confidence.”

    The answers are out there for anyone who want’s to take the time look.

    So – one more time.

    “There hasn’t been a single mass public shooting in any school that allows teachers and staff to carry guns legally. Since at least as far back as January 2000, not a single shooting-related death or injury has occurred during or anywhere near class hours on the property of a school that allows teachers to carry.”

    Mr. Dame: What is it about this report you find so hard to understand?

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