Time to act on 15-year-old school safety report

Mike KnaakEditorial, Opinion0 Comments

It’s no surprise that gun safety measures aren’t going anywhere fast in Washington, D.C., or St. Paul.

Republicans have shown little interest in action.

In St. Paul, a sixth measure gun-related bill has been introduced by five House Republicans that would allow trained and permitted school staff to carry firearms. It’s HF3286 and no committee action has been scheduled.

Like most disasters, mass school shooting won’t be solved with one law change or one but instead a combination of actions.

Policy makers need to look at the causes such as mental health issues and school culture but also the means such as availability of assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.

In the debate over causes, policy makers point to what they perceive as a lack of clear direction.

At the federal level, Donald Trump needs to look no further than to step out of the Oval Office and ask the Secret Service.

In 2002, the Secret Service and U.S. Department of Education published a report titled “Implications for the Prevention of School Attacks in the United States.’

The agencies launched the research after Columbine and other school shootings. The 63-page report attempted to answer two questions that are still being debated: “Could we have known that these attacks were being planned?” and, “What can be done to prevent future attacks from occurring?”

The study is available here: www.secretservice.gov/data/protection/ntac/ssi_final_report.pdf

Here are the 10 key findings of the report:

-Incidents of targeted violence at school rarely are sudden, impulsive acts.

-Prior to most incidents, other people knew about the attacker’s idea and/or plan to attack.

-Most attackers did not threaten their targets directly prior to advancing the attack.

-There is no accurate or useful profile of students who engaged in targeted school violence.

-Most attackers engaged in some behavior prior to the incident that caused others concern or indicated a need for help.

-Most attackers had difficulty coping with significant losses or personal failures. Moreover, many had considered or attempted suicide.

-Many attackers felt bullied, persecuted or injured by others prior to the attack.

-Most attackers had access to and had used weapons prior to the attack.

-In many cases, other students were involved in some capacity.

-Despite prompt law enforcement responses, most shooting incidents were stopped by means other than law enforcement intervention.

All of the findings conclude with actions that can be taken to address the causes. Do they sound familiar?

These findings are more than 15 years old. Why haven’t they been acted on? Isn’t it finally time?

Author: Mike Knaak

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