Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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December 27, 2012

COLUMN: Debate after shooting predictably turns to gun rights, security

(Continued)

Then he went on to talk a little more about the importance of freedom — at least, the freedom of gun owners. Freedom for the mentally ill is another matter entirely.

Maybe we can't blame LaPierre for his statements. After all, he’s doing what he’s paid to do, just as the leaders of gun control groups are doing.

Meanwhile, those of us who live in the real world are left wondering what happens from here.

So far, the trend is predictable. Along with the assorted political finger pointing and rationalization, school districts are responding the only way they know how — by beefing up security.

Maybe this helps calm nervous students and parents. But you have to wonder how this can be a deterrent to folks like the Newtown shooter, who apparently intended to die in his assault.

Besides, what happens if school security is indeed so tight that it thwarts such attacks? Do the emotionally unbalanced suddenly get better? Or do they find other unprotected targets for their final acts of mayhem?

What is the solution? Sadly the situation is far more complex and nuanced than anything being discussed. And while I don’t claim to have the complete answer, much of it involves helping the mentally ill and their families with their problems.

Unfortunately, it seems to be quicker and easier to gradually turn America into an odd combination of armed camp and massive airport screening system. The trend is one of increased security, despite its cost and dubious effectiveness.

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Mitchel Olszak is a columnist for the New Castle (Pa.) News.

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