School shootings are a plague on the public psyche and happen not because of one single legal, moral, medical, or societal construct fails but because of lapses of adherence to laws and common sense.

We don’t respect or trust our teachers enough. The media reports stories of students asserting their rights in the classroom, and the teachers are being stripped of authority. This is a grave sin. Teachers are willing to die to protect their charge and should be given complete support. We should also consider allowing those willing and skilled to be armed.

There are root causes to school shooters: a fractured home life, impulse control requiring medication, detached from community, callous to life, bullied, mocked, a loner. The killer’s history of erratic behavior now looks glaring in the carnage at the school, but he is ultimately responsible. The lack of accountability by the authorities has been appalling.

Hollywood has always been fascinated with the darker side of mankind. We pay to view film and spend moral equity rationalizing it. Conflict is resolved at the point of a gun. Parents should use more discretion in what their children watch. At issue is the unformed value system of teenagers who still possess self-control problems.

Legislation cannot fix everything, and frequently changes nothing of substance. The NRA supports gun legislation and the laws we already have and would support reasonable legislation going forward. The operative word is reasonable, and the debate becomes hysterical on that one thought.

The Second Amendment guarantees the right of a person to defend himself, his loved ones, and his property and has done more for civil rights than any government program.

It is an equalizer for defense from harm or tyranny.

But it does not confer a right to attack, which is a crime and must be dealt with swiftly, and if need be, severely. Murder, and the evil heart required, is not caused by guns.

A lack of respect for the dignity and sanctity of human life is a root cause. We are a selfish people, whose cultural identity is warped by disdain for the most fragile among us.

We should protect the most innocent of human life, without rationalizing an individual right of convenience. It isn’t only about changing laws, but of changing hearts, minds, and values. Love your neighbor. Want to do something? Start there.

—Kevin Horgan, Roswell

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