But this 19-year-old returned to the scene and killed more people.
It could happen to any journalist. It could happen at any time. We go to the scene of shootings, road rage incidents, wrecks, fires. Those are all considered dangerous places.
We are privileged to live in a small but big place in Northwest Florida where we don’t have daily shootings and too many murders to count. We live in a county where our sheriff is tough on criminals and firmly believes in our right to defend ourselves. He even offered shooting classes.
In the aftermath of that shooting, and every other shooting, there is a call for stricter gun control laws. The problem with that is, it only applies to people who are trying to legally purchase a weapon. Those are not the ones out there shooting people.
The criminals and gang members are the majority of people shooting and killing others. And they do not obtain their guns legally. We already have a law that makes it illegal for felons to own a weapon. Does that stop them? No, because they are buying guns on the street.
Does it prohibit or make it harder for your everyday American to own a weapon? Yes. Those weapons are used for self-protection and the protection of others, not to shoot and kill people at will.
There are some things that you can’t legislate your way out of. Guns are one of those things. It is illegal to possess illicit drugs. Does it stop the addicts from using drugs? Does it stop the sellers from selling drugs? No. They are criminals who care nothing about the laws in this country. If you legislate to ban guns, only the bad guys will have them and we, the lawful gun owners, will then have nothing to protect ourselves. And the bad guys win.
We are deeply saddened by the killings last week and we will continue to pray for those families. Bad things happen. Bad things will continue to happen. We can’t stop it. We can’t make enough laws to stop bad guys because in the end, a law is written on a piece of paper and the police can only enforce it once it has been broken. That is the American way. It is living in a free society. People have the option of making very bad decisions. We can’t legislate every problem away. We cannot know what is in someone’s mind before something bad happens.
What we can do is pray for the families left behind. We can honor those who lost their lives. We can refrain from mentioning the name of the person who pulled the trigger – he doesn’t deserve to be famous for what he did.
We can do some extra parenting. We can give pre-teens and teens the tools to cope with stress and chaos. We don’t know the background of the teen who did this. We wouldn’t venture to guess what led up to it.
But we do know that more laws and stricter gun control would not have prevented this from occurring. Where there is a will for evil, there is a way for evil. Where there is a will for good, there is a way for good.
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