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Eventually a school shooting will come to North Carolina

School Shooting-Texas-1

A woman gestures Tuesday toward a cross honoring Santa Fe High School substitute teacher Cynthia Tisdale, who was killed during a shooting at the school on Friday, in Santa Fe, Texas.

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Monday, May 28, 2018

One of these times it’s going to be North Carolina.

It might be a school in Charlotte or Raleigh. It might be one in Davie County, or Surry. Maybe Winston-Salem.

Some disgruntled nut or disturbed child with access to firearms will go to a school, wait until the resource officer is on the other side of the campus and then he’ll go off.

Unless we stop it now.

A 17-year-old armed with a shotgun and a pistol killed 10 people, most of them students, at Santa Fe High School on May 18. This was a high school that had two armed police officers on campus and had drilled the students for such incidents.

And as we learn the names and aspirations of the students, as we see their parents and fellow students express their sorrow on TV, we share their grief and we worry about our own. This is the deadliest school shooting since the one in February that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. But it’s the 16th shooting at a school during school hours so far this year, according to a Washington Post analysis.

“Never again,” we said after Parkland. But it will happen again, here in the only advanced country in which such things happen with regularity, unless we stop it now.

Legislators were quick to respond with their “thoughts and prayers,” a phrase that has become an empty cliché. Politicians and pundits have blamed exit doors, mental illness, godlessness, social media and poor parenting for the tragedy. These may be legitimate concerns, but they ignore the elephant in the room: easy access to guns.

Yes, let’s regulate doors and Facebook. Let’s do anything but try to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.

Thirty miles away from Santa Fe, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo on Friday wrote on his Facebook account that he is tired of hearing “guns aren’t the problem and there’s little we can do.”

“Today, I spent the day dealing with another mass shooting of children and a responding police officer who is clinging to life,” Acevedo wrote. “I know some have strong feelings about gun rights, but I want you to know I’ve hit rock bottom .”

“This isn’t a time for prayers, and study and inaction, it’s a time for prayers, action and the asking of God’s forgiveness for our inaction (especially the elected officials that ran to the cameras today, acted in a solemn manner, called for prayers, and will once again do absolutely nothing),” he wrote.

Acevedo speaks for many of us.

On Face the Nation, Acevedo suggested we vote out the politicians who are doing nothing and elect leaders who will take action. That sounds like a sensible first step. Any legislator who fails to join in concrete action before the November election should be voted out.

Here’s a partial list for starters:

■ They can provide funds for more school nurses, counselors and security/resource officers.

■ They can reinstate the Obama-era regulation, eliminated by President Trump, that made it more difficult for people with mental illness to purchase a gun.

■ They can stop taking money from the NRA, whose influence outweighs and countermands any attempts at solutions aside from arming the populace.

This problem has gone on for too long, receiving lip service and meaningless platitudes from politicians who are more concerned about their own re-election than the children in our schools. What’s needed is action.

One of these times it’s going to be North Carolina — unless we all band together to stop it now.

Winston-Salem Journal

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