Lawyers, Guns, and Money

Circumstances sometimes arise that are so complex, so compelling, and so consequential as to necessitate extreme and challenging actions. For example, the Civil War, Pearl Harbor, and 9/11 are history-altering events that forever changed this country.

While the numbers are unclear—which is part of the problem—the number of school shootings rising year over year is the latest event that will change this country once again, but only if we dare to address it.

Between 2000 and 2021, there have been 783 school shootings in K-12 schools, college campuses, and school buses in the United States. The number of those killed is staggering, But accurate numbers are difficult to determine due to a lack of consistent data.

One readily available, but perhaps incomplete illustration is shown here.

Here’s another link to a list of school shootings to illustrate the confusing but undeniably tragic numbers.

Why are we seemingly willing to accept even one death of an innocent child, let alone hundreds?

Yet, despite the daily headlines, the rising death toll, and the trauma inflicted on the most innocent among us, we do nothing. We stand idly by and let our children die because we are unwilling to address the problem through thorough and consistent analysis.

This is in a country that also creates headlines about book banning and restrictions on women’s choice to control their bodies under the rallying cry of protecting innocent children.

What a nation of hypocrites and cowards. Many of whom wrap themselves in an Amendment while vocalizing their hypocritical and shallow embrace of Commandments they claim as a foundation for this country.

Shame on you.

Facing such a crisis, which I submit should be considered at least as significant as 9/11 or Pearl Harbor, we haven’t even decided to act, let alone make any effort to do so. Thus we face an existential crisis of the most significant kind.

I have a proposal to address the immediate issue, at least until we can find the courage to address the fundamental cause and make a concerted effort to find a long-term solution.

In the 1970s, the United States declared war on drugs. Yet, to date, billions and billions of dollars and man-hours have been expended fighting a war for which we can show very little progress. Not only are the drugs we identified in the 1970s—heroin and cocaine—still readily available, but a whole new variety of drugs like fentanyl have entered the market, and the prices to obtain these on the streets have consistently fallen.

Isn’t it time for a reevaluation of priorities regarding the issue most threatening to the people we seek to protect from drugs, our youth? Isn’t it time we prioritize innocent victims over those who, cruel as this may sound, chose to go down the road of using drugs?

Why are we seemingly willing to accept even one death of an innocent child, let alone hundreds?

Joe Broadmeadow

If we consider these issues war, wouldn’t allocating more resources away from drug enforcement and securing and hardening our schools to protect innocent children make more sense?

Using statistics from 2016—again, the issue of not knowing what we don’t know rears its ugly head—there were more than 2200 DEA Task forces with 2600 local-state officers assigned to this work. Almost every department in the country dedicates officers to their own drug units. The number of officers assigned to these functions far outnumbers those assigned to schools.

Perhaps it is time for a radical change. Reallocating officers from drug task forces to school security makes more sense than continuing an endless war on drugs with no clear goals in the face of such incidents.

At the very least, we should reallocate all of the assets seized in drug cases—something that a wise Assistant US Attorney once prophetically told me would become a case of the tail wagging the dog as agencies focused on seizing money rather than drugs—totaling in the billions of dollars and use it to fund placing officers in schools, hardening the facilities infrastructure to minimize open vulnerabilities, and supporting mental health opportunities for anyone at risk.

We cannot solve a problem without a fundamental understanding of the underlying cause. So all the wailing and gnashing of teeth about returning America to an earlier state of greatness is sound and fury signifying nothing.

Someone is killing our children, and the enemy is within us.

We face a circumstance similar to what the country faced leading to the Civil War. And like the decisions facing President Lincoln, we must decide what the priority is. For Lincoln, it was saving the Union of all states.

He once wrote,

“My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slaves I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.”

Abraham Lincoln.

We face a similar, if more obvious, decision.

If we are not willing to give our full measures to address the problem, let us at least be ready to defend the children with all the power and might of law enforcement until we can create a society where the very idea of entering a school and killing innocent children becomes nothing but a dark footnote in our history.

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