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Who will lead?

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By Jim Rohrer

We continue to argue about how to protect our kids from school shooters. I can’t get the visions of those little Sandy Hook toddlers out of my mind. I live near an elementary school, and as I see the little ones coming and going I think about the horrific shootings we seem to shrug off as “the way things are today.” No, thoughts and prayers are insufficient.
Consider the following events compiled by Michael Smerconish, CNN and Sirius Radio nonpartisan program host regarding the Parkland school shooting:
• The Broward County sheriff recorded 23 calls over 10 years concerning the Florida shooter.
• Law enforcement had responded 39 times to the shooter’s house.
• In 2016, a caller reported an Instagram posted by the shooter threatening to shoot up a school.
• The shooter posted pictures of himself with a gun.
• A counselor reported that the shooter attempted suicide and was seeking to buy a gun.
• A children’s and family investigation branded him as a low risk despite a thick file.
• The shooter’s family called police to report a fight and the presence of a gun.
• A tipster reported to the sheriff that the shooter was collecting guns and knives. The tipster predicted a shooting.
• The shooter posted that he wanted to die fighting and that he wanted to shoot people.
• Teacher reported that the shooter kicked doors, fought often, threatened students and had brought bullets to school.
• Students openly commented that the shooter would someday become a school shooter.
• The Department of Children & Families reported the shooter’s intention to buy a gun.
• Upon turning 18, the shooter was able to legally buy the AR-15 he used in the shooting.
• A person from Mississippi reported the shooter’s YouTube post that he would become a professional school shooter.
• On June 15, 2017, the FBI call center received a call from someone close to the shooter who feared that the shooter would get into a school and shoot it up. This was not forwarded to the Miami field office as protocols would seem to dictate.
We know that systems exist to record, interpret and transmit intimate details about our likes on Facebook and what we shop for online. Why then isn’t there a system with input from law enforcement, school officials and family members that would disqualify someone from gun ownership?
When there is a fatal car crash, the details go into a massive government database called the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. This information has been used to make dramatic improvement in car safety. This occurred because we decided that reducing vehicle deaths would be a national goal. Deaths from vehicles have been cut by about one third since the high point in 1972 and since the recording began in 1975. For the record, last year firearms shootings killed 33,636 compared with the car deaths of 33,804, yet no such national database exists in regard to guns. In 1996, Congress under pressure from the National Rifle Association prohibited the Centers for Disease Control from doing firearms research and studying gun deaths. So, there is no connected system to prevent seriously troubled individuals from obtaining a gun and there is no information about gun death net causes. The reason, it seems to me, is because we haven’t made the reduction of these shootings a national priority. Why don’t we do that?
I am no gun hater, nor do I want to eliminate the Second Amendment, but I do believe that we should pull out all the stops to ensure that we utilize all our systems’ expertise and good old American ingenuity to eliminate school shootings without turning schools into fortresses that will further traumatize our youngsters. The numbers of those who marched indicate to me that millions agree.
Will the solution reduce some personal rights? Of course, it will. All laws reduce civil liberties. My right to drive 100 mph has been lost in light of a higher goal that serves society. Compromise will be required. I believe compromise requires four things:
• 1. Mutual respect for other opinions
• 2. A unifying goal
• 3. A looming deadline
• 4. Leadership.
Who will lead other than our kids?

Jim Rohrer of Evergreen is a business consultant and author of the bi-books “Improve Your Bottom Line … Develop MVPs Today” and “Never Lose Your Job … Become a More Valuable Player.” Jim’s belief is that common sense is becoming less common. (More about Jim at www.theloyaltypartners.com.)