Well, here we go again with demands for taking guns from law-abiding citizens. These 
most recent, horrible shootings have sparked a new onslaught of rage and outcry to ban 
gun sales and ownership — especially of the category of "assualt weapons.” Many agree 
that something different must be done; something to limit access to firearms for those
 suffering from mental illness is a good place to start.

Most of the shooters are young men who have a track record of mental instability of
 some sort. Often they broadcast this online for the entire world to see. The Parkland
 shooter, Nikolas Cruz, had a long history of problems at school. He had actually been
 expelled for bringing guns to school. He had been in a fight not long before he killed 
fellow students, but was only referred to social workers and not the police. He stated
 more than once he wanted to be a school shooter. He purchased the murder weapon
 legally.

I hope people understand that at one point Brower County recorded more school arrests
 than any other Florida district. To combat this embarrassment, the school board and
 disgraced Brower County sheriff devised a plan to artificially reduce in-school arrests to 
try and curb this "school to prison pipeline.” They basically just decided to forgive
 suspensions and expulsions, which resulted in a 63% reduction of in-school arrests from 
2012 to 2016. Even Obama complimented this district on this drastic reduction and
 pointed to them as an example of how understanding and forgiveness works so well — 
except for those students killed and their families.

If Cruz would have been arrested for any of these grievances, he would have been
 prevented from legally buying a firearm. Would that have stopped him from
slaughtering so many fellow students? We won't know, but it would have sure slowed 
him down and made it more difficult. This was the fault of many — the sheriff, the
 school board, his parents — for not being willing to identify his obvious mental 
problems and deal with them before this happened. It wasn't the gun's fault.

David Burns

Pendleton

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