Why, Oh, Why Did These Two Have To Die?

The news was not good today.  An article in this morning’s Houston Chronicle hit me hard.  At only 13 years old, Asher Brown, a middle school student in the Cy-Fair school district in which I live took his own life, probably as a result of his being bullied because he was thought to be gay.  Then only minutes later I see in a breaking news article that there is a shooter somewhere on the campus of UT-Austin.

What is it in a young boy that would cause him not to want to live?  What’s happened to schools?  His parents said they had been reporting the bullying to school officials and nothing had been done.  I looked up the district’s safety pledges for students, and they seem to be good ones.

From the Cypress-Fairbanks I.S.D. Student Code of Conduct 2010-2011:

Secondary Safety Pledge
Recognizing that every student has the right to a safe environment where everyone is treated with respect:

  • I understand that I have an essential role in school safety and violence prevention.
  • I will immediately report any threats of violence, suicide, presence of weapons, explosives or drugs to school administrators, allowing them to investigate and determine the seriousness of the report.
  • I will do all I can to stop harassment of others.
  • I will promote the acceptance of individual differences, recognizing that diversity contributes to the strength of my school.

What the school did to prevent this situation, we don’t know.  What kind of home life this boy had we don’t know.  What we know is that this boy used a gun that he got from his step-father’s closet.

Then in Austin, we find out that the shooter, Colton Tooley, used an AK-47 to kill himself in one of the libraries on campus.

Why are guns so easily accessible to kids?  Why does any private person need a gun like an AK-47 or bigger?

I’m not against having guns.  But why do some people need so many guns?  Why does anyone except for the military or a S.W.A.T. team need large automatic or semi-automatic weapons?   Estimates say that “there are about 80 million gun owners in America with a combining total of 258 million guns.”   That means that the average gun owner has 3 guns, but I’m betting that many of these 80 million just have 1 gun, and about 25% have a lot more than 3 guns.  Our population is about 350 million people, so if there are 260 million private guns out there;  that’s still more than enough for each adult to have one if the guns were just divvied up.  (Make note that the powerful anti-gun control lobbying group, the NRA (National Rifle Association) has only 4.3 million members.)

I know you could never take guns away from gun owners, but what could be done is put a moratorium on the manufacture of guns for a couple of decades.  We really just don’t need any more guns being made.  There are enough.

What there aren’t enough of are details in either case to lay direct blame for these tragedies.  One thing is certain, though, when a 13-year old and a 19-year-old find reason to take their own lives and have such easy access to guns, it seems like we do not live in a very nice country.

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