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  • Writer's pictureHoward McBroom

Des Moines, Iowa High School Shooting

Last week, there was a terrible incident just outside East High School in Des Moines, Iowa. A 15-year old boy was talking with a group of his friends when he was shot to death by six teenagers who had banded together to kill him. They were driving around looking for him and at 2:50pm, they saw him outside of the school, drove past him, circled back to where he was, and opened fire on him from all three cars they were in. The 15-year old boy died on the spot and two teenage girls were critically wounded. Within an hour, the police arrested all six of the teenagers involved and charged them with one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder. The four oldest ones are being held on $1 million bond and are in adult prison. The two youngest ones, a 14-year old boy and a 15-year old boy, are being held as juveniles for the time being.

What is this kind of trauma doing to the soul of America? I read a post written by somebody who was at the Oxford High School shooting last November. They talked about how they were still frozen by the trauma, reliving it, and unable to move forward while people were expecting them to smile and be brave as if nothing had happened. This is a good example of the trauma these shootings are causing. The scary thing is that they’re happening almost every week somewhere in America. Even if they happened only once or twice, it would be a matter of serious concern, but it keeps happening again and again and again. Our midterm elections are coming up and I’m afraid it’s not going to be Republicans versus Democrats, it’s going to be democracy versus authoritarianism. That’s going to be the point of the election. How much longer are people going to vote for a democracy when they have to live in fear that shootings will keep happening? What kind of democracy is that? Who wants to live in this kind of world? A democracy that cannot protect its people is no democracy at all. If you can’t protect your own children from mass murder, what does that say about the state of your democracy? What does that say about your society’s ability to protect people?

The story of the shooting in Des Moines made it all the way to the President’s desk. He roared and said enough is enough, which is true, but that doesn’t exactly tell us what we can do to stop it. We have to stop this entire thing. We can’t be concerned with just stopping school shootings or just saving some lives or just passing some measure to control guns. I agree that gun measures are necessary and that they’ll help, but they’re not going to solve the entire problem. Even if we take guns away, these human time bombs are still going to be out there and their hate will be there, too. In fact, if we take guns away, it might make them angrier and hate that much more. Stopping mass shootings is going to require a lot more than gun control. How do we stop people from hating and believing that violence is the ultimate power? We can’t fight that kind of thinking by having gun control laws; that’s not going to stop that way of thinking. As I have said before, we’re going to have to be more politically aware. However, I don’t think our political leaders have kind of savvy; they’re thinking with their hearts, not their heads, and we’re paying the price of that. In order to combat hate, we need to have a nationwide campaign against hate. We also need to teach better solutions and give people the skills they need in order to be successful in society. Finally, we need to plan our reforms better and act with our heads and not just our hearts. It’s good that people are working on bail reform, but what good is bail reform if violent criminals are getting out and killing people? The real root of the problem is hate, not guns. We have to find a strategy to stop people from hating and we have to get the message out that hate does not make a great nation. I don’t think our leaders are getting that point across, but we need to find a way to stop hate by the next election or else I fear that people will vote for an authoritarian society. I don’t want to see America become the kind of authoritarian nation that Russia is. Can you imagine America being the kind of place where the only thing people hear is what the government wants them to hear? That could happen if we don’t stop this murder madness, so we need to act soon.

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