One is to restore civil commitment laws that make it difficult to institutionalize dangerous people and shore up a weakened mental health system. Another is to restore laws to keep assault weapons and thousands of rounds of military grade bullets out of general circulation. And another – put teeth back in the media rating system where violence is concerned. And, I would add, eliminate meth use.
There is a personal component, as well as the law and policy component, to all four of these ideas. When you see scary behavior in children, young adults, anyone, notify your principal, sheriff, pastor and if the person is your child, brother, uncle get them and yourself medical/psychiatric help now. We have decriminalized mental illness, but we still treat it as a stigma, not a disease.
If you own guns, be conservative in following safety rules, and in teaching your children about them. And if you own assault rifles, turn them in to the police. I’m serious, what do you need them for?
The third one, don’t expose children to media violence, from cartoons to Lord of the Rings or Resident Evil 6. Know your kids. What can they handle, when? Their brains are built to soak up information whether from you, the TV, computer or their walk home from school. As for your drugs – alcohol, prescription, illegal – be honest in following safety rules and in teaching your children about them. And, if you have meth in the house, whether you have children or not, get rid of it and get yourself help to not use again.
We are not helpless unless we choose to be. Let’s mourn and let’s act.