Opinion

We must be proactive in helping troubled children

An editorial from the Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Whenever there is a mass shooting, there is inevitably a debate between the warring sides of more gun control versus Second Amendment rights.

We’re not going to talk about that.

That’s a sad situation our nation has fallen victim to too many times. We are a reactive society. When a crisis occurs, we point fingers. We lay blame. We insist on changing laws and practices to prevent something like that from happening ever again.

We should be a proactive nation. We should talk about the problems we face, study the issues, come up with solutions and work to establish best practices before a crisis happens.

But it’s easier to blame, isn’t it? It’s much harder to see flaws, admit that there are flaws and fix them.

Our hearts broke on Tuesday when reports began to hit the wires about a shooting at Berrendo Middle School in Roswell, N.M.

For what seemed like an eternity, law-enforcement officers secured the scene before we knew exactly how many people were injured and whether anyone was killed in the shooting.

When the dust settled, we all learned together that a seventh-grade boy was the shooter, having apparently brought a sawed-off shotgun in his backpack. He pulled the gun out and shot two students waiting for the school day to begin, a 13-year-old girl who is in stable condition and an 11-year-old boy, who remains in critical condition following two surgeries.

A teacher, John Masterson, walked up to the student and persuaded him to put down the gun. The child followed his instructions, possibly sparing others from serious injury or even saving lives.

We will not focus on gun control right now. We will not point fingers. We will not lay blame.

But we have a few words we do want to say.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the children injured in the shooting, their family members, the students of Berrendo Middle School who are hurting right now, and with the greater community of Roswell.

No child should have to worry that one day in middle school will be their last day on Earth. No parent should fear that dropping a child off at school could mean you would lose them forever. No student should have to witness the horror of watching fellow classmates sustain gunshot wounds by the hands of a peer…

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