Access to guns is a significant factor in American school shootings. If kids could not and did not bring guns to school, we wouldn’t have Columbine, Virginia Tech or Chardon, Ohio. There have been crimes with knives and bats and fists. But school shootings are gun crimes. Kids with guns kill kids at school.I do not think America is an extremist nation, compared to other nations with bloody histories and despotic leaders. True, we have polarized political speech, and some of that speech is about access to guns. But the reason we have an American school shooting problem that exceeds other nations has to do with access to loaded weapons by kids who should not have that access.I’m not offering a gun control solution. But any serious attempt to prevent school shooting will have to attack the problem by determining who should not be armed, and preventing dangerous boys from bringing guns to school.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of Frank Ochberg. For more on the subject of school shootings, Dr. Ochberg recommends reading reports by the U.S. Secret Service and the FBI.Late last month, 44 former high-level U.S. officials and thought leaders, including prominent members of the Cuban-American community, signed a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to revise our Cuba policy to allow Americans to better engage with the island’s growing civil society, particularly its fledgling entrepreneurial sector.The logic behind the letter is simple: by empowering the Cuban people with more access to U.S. contacts and resources, they can create greater freedoms for themselves.Unfortunately, that concept appears to be too difficult to understand for those who depend on keeping things just the way they are. Almost immediately, the predictable responses began to flow from a tag team of shrill hardliners in Washington DC and Havana, all trying to protect the status quo.
In Washington, the pro-embargo lobby – or what is left of them – began to mischaracterize the letter as a “concession” to the regime, and cherry picked quotes by some dissidents and exile leaders to make it seem as if there is widespread opposition to increasing support for Cuban civil society.In Havana, the supposed beneficiaries of these “concessions” reacted in equally predictable fashion. As they’ve done every time there’s been a potential thaw, the Cuban regime’s hardliners are going out of their way to thwart political momentum in the U.S. for a new approach. Let’s face it, one of the regime’s favorite strategies is to blame American policy for all of their own shortcomings. It has helped them stay in power. If they wanted better relations, they wouldrelease Alan Gross, or stop beating up the Ladies in White, or cease detaining pro-rights activists, or loosen customs and import restrictions. They haven’t, of course, because like the hardliners here, they want everything their way.