Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

April 10, 2014

OUR VIEW: Preventing violence is a societal effort

Glasgow Daily Times

GLASGOW — It is past time for our society to accept that prevention of violence in schools and workplaces requires much more than limiting access to weapons. Keeping guns, for instance, out of the hands of people known to be a threat to public safety is part of the solution, of course, but we’re fooling ourselves if we believe bans and background checks are enough to eliminate the problem.

People who wish to hurt other people will find a way to do it, no matter what tools of destruction are or are not available. We’ve seen tragic examples of this in recent weeks at Fort Hood, Texas, and at a Pennsylvania high school. So we must try harder to identify the flaws in our society that lead, compel or allow certain people to seek to harm, maim or kill. Some of these people are broken, others have been forgotten or ignored. Whatever the reasons, the issue is often so much more complex than “bad people doing bad things.”

Collectively and individually, we all bear some responsibility. Finding the solution will be unfathomably difficult. It will be impossible, however, until we take ownership of the problem and admit that we aren’t paying enough attention to the calls for intensified focus on mental health or embracing the challenge of reaching out to those at risk of harming themselves or others.

This work must begin early. We must learn to recognize warning signs in children and address troubling tendencies during key developmental periods. We must be open to the findings of researchers and be willing to let go of our misconceptions and preconceived notions.

Something in our society is shattered. That much is certain. Unless we try to put the pieces together, the shattering of innocent lives will never end.