We must look beyond our reactions to shootings to find solutions

Seldom do we read an opinion piece in our papers as well composed as that of Livinia Michael-Bollinger's, “Out of the Pain, Hope Arises in Our Young People.” I read it once to understand her introspection, her emotions and thoughts. Her reactions to school shootings was enlightening. A second read to comprehend her stance on the problem’s cause and possible solution(s) was disappointing.

While it's compelling to support her disagreement with anyone blaming schools for their problem, her dismissal of possible blame of media violence and of any political implication, in her case “liberalism,” is not acceptable. Probable cause must be determined. When correctly determining root cause of any problem that may involve legislation, it's imperative to consider political aspects.

Unfortunately, neither Michael-Bollinger nor media nor legislators are focused on analytical problem-solving to determine root cause(s) for complex problems so as to develop effective solutions.

Such methodology forces one to clear the mind of bias and prejudice and deal with facts. All potential critical issues must be examined. Conditions before and after the problem arose must be assessed. Change is a critical factor.

With people-related problems, it is critical to determine changes in them personally or in conditions which affect their behavior and their actions. It's critical to assess the personal conditions, especially health, of the perpetrators. Similarities in perpetrators case to case are critically important. Some problems may require urgent stop-gap actions while root cause is being determined. And solved.

To jump ahead of the method a bit, the school shooting is one such urgent problem. Provide immediate protection for the children while expediting root-cause determination and correction. First of all, remove the nonsensical, criminal-inviting, “gun-free” zones. Start the search for root cause.

Guns are the weapons. Were guns new at the start of school shootings? No. School children had guns in their vehicles in past times. For sure, some guns are different than many of us had, and some may be eliminated. What's changed? One change is the mainstreaming of psychotics into communities after the Community Mental Health Act of 1963. Another critical factor is the increased use of psychotropic drugs in the ’80s. By 1996, 77 percent of mentally ill people were on psychotropics. Virtually all are today.

These drugs do not cure psychotic behavior but suppress it, so long as the patient takes them, although some doctors treat them as if they are curative. More important than this general data is the fact that all of the school shooters, as well as most other mass shootings, have been done by people on psychotropics. It cannot be refuted that these drugs are a root cause of school shootings. No amount of demonstrations will resolve this.

While some will doubt it, it's reasonable to think that the preponderance of violent movies, and especially TV presentations, condition the potential criminal to become an active one. My many friends in Latin America are sure of this and many ban their children from watching American-produced television.

In summary, there is abundant evidence of root cause, the solution must be in dealing with the mainstreaming of psychotics and the over-dependence on psychotropic drugs. The myriad of violent movies and TV shows must be considered and, in my opinion, should be limited, but that alone will not solve the problem. Neither will demonstrations calling for elimination of the targeted NRA, whether by adults young or old.

If one thinks the NRA makes the legislators corrupt, you can be assured elimination of the NRA would reveal the legislators to be as inept as they are corrupt, as you see them. None show an aptitude for analytical problem-solving. They've been urged to hire aides who are competent, but they don't.

So, while it is of interest to see young people demonstrating, until they focus on meaningful, doable solutions, any expectation for improvement is false hope.

Mann is retired CEO and founder of The Mann Group, International Consultants, CEO/owner of Mann Industries, formerly BASF fibers and yarns, former Senior Executive R&D/New Business Development for the former Burlington Industries.

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