Shooting ‘outrage’ seems futile

This Facebook post, written by Art Acevedo, chief of police at the Houston Police Department, copied in its entirety without editing, reflects the emotions of a growing number of adults and youth, following another mass shooting in a school that resulted in the needless deaths of 10 more victims in Santa Fe, Texas.

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“To all my Facebook friends. Today, I spent the day dealing with another mass shooting of children and a responding police officer who is clinging to life. I am not ashamed to admit I’ve shed tears of sadness, pain and anger.

I know some have strong feelings about gun rights, but I want you to know I’ve hit rock bottom and I am not interested in your views as it pertains to this issue. Please do not post anything about guns aren’t the problem and there’s little we can do. My feelings won’t be hurt if you de-friend me and I hope yours won’t be if you decide to post about your views and I de-friend you.

I have never accepted the status quo in anything I do and I’ve never accepted defeat. And I won’t do it now. I will continue to speak up and will stand up for what my heart and my God commands me to do, and I assure you, he hasn’t instructed me to believe that gun rights are bestowed by him.

The hatred being spewed in our country and the new norms we, so-called people of faith are accepting, is as much to blame for so much of the violence in our once pragmatic nation.

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!

I close by saying, I wish those that move on from this page the best. May God Bless you and keep you.”

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In keeping with the spirit of the post; we Americans have much to confess in our complicity and inaction when it comes to ensuring our nation’s children are safe and secure from threats within our schools, which see them as mere targets to be annihilated, their blood spewing out as rage and hatred exacts revenge upon its “deserving” victims.

It is time for us to take the knee and recognize that we as a nation are ultimately responsible for allowing this continuing slaughter.

The time for action is now. The following step is but one way to bring us back onto the path of redemption, to restore sanity within hurting communities. It is by no means perfect, but represents a beginning for real change, as we work toward the goal of ensuring the safety of our children as they attend our schools.

Additionally, some of these efforts are currently ongoing or in the process of implementation, but it bears re-emphasizing at this time.

◼ Create, enhance or reinforce security networks between schools, mental health agencies and law enforcement.

◼ Provide or enhance current security officer presence in large public schools, which decreases response times and can save more lives.

◼ Make parents subject to prosecution for failure to secure legally obtained weapons, and for allowing access to weapons by minor children in the commission of a crime.

◼ Require universal background checks for all gun sales, both private and retail, accessible to all law enforcement and mental health agencies. No exceptions.

◼ Require annual or multi-year licensing, permitting of all civilian-owned assault-style weapons. No exceptions.

◼ Eliminate the purchase and use of high-capacity magazines in all civilian-owned weapons.

◼ Require training and/or proof of aptitude in the safe handling and use of all civilian owned firearms.

◼ Provide funding sources to encourage schools to retrofit viable components to enhance school safety and to isolate active shooter presences. Also, provide further training for staff, teachers and other personnel to prepare for potential threats.

◼ Work to create uniform conceal-and -carry laws among all states that lessen the regulatory nightmare of keeping track of each individual state’s unique requirements or exceptions.

This may require a federal uniform regulation, much like the law created to address labeling of food, which pre-empts state’s laws and simplifies it into one common law.

Ironically, Kansas conceal-and-carry reciprocity laws, as the permitting state, do not reciprocate with California, but California, as the permitting state, does reciprocate with Kansas. Go figure. It is equally confusing and complex, regardless of the state of residence.

In the spirit of Police Chief Acevedo, the time for endless exchanges of opposing views is over.

Only days after the latest shooting incident, my oldest son posted a short video of his daughters playing in a small creek. The girls were laughing as they and their companion, a small cattle dog, were jumping into the flowing stream. The caption was, “Life is good.”

I think of that imagery every day since the slaughter at the school in Texas. The children’s parents will never again experience such joy with their child. These lives will never grow up and not know the joy their own children could have been to them as well.

We have a choice to make. We can fix this and prevent more senseless slaughter.