After a 15-year-old student opened fire at a high school near Spokane, Washington, earlier this week, the Spokane County Sheriff gave a defense of the Second Amendment that would make the Founding Fathers proud.
What did he say?
During a lengthy press conference on Thursday, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich explained in no uncertain terms that he believes a breakdown in society helped the teenage student execute his rampage, which took the life of one person and injured three others. It wasn't the gun, the sheriff explained while defending the Second Amendment.
"I can tell you, folks, I carried a gun all my life. I hunted, I shot. My friends and I...It’s huntin’ season back home. When I was in high school, every one of those rigs in the high school parking lot had a gun in the gun rack. Why? We went huntin’ on the way home. None of those guns ever walked into a school. None of those guns ever shot anybody. What’s the difference? Did the gun change? Or did you, as a society, change? I’ll give ya odds that it was you as a society, because you started glorifying cultures of violence. You glorified the gang culture, you glorified games that actually give you points for raping and killing people. The gun didn’t change, we changed."
What are those societal breakdowns?
Knezovich explained, according to the Huffington Post:
- The media: "This young gentleman got sucked into a counterculture of violence, a culture that is enamored with school shootings. And media, you are to blame for that, because you keep giving these people headlines. You keep using their names. You have made them heroes to some people. If I had my way, none of these people’s names would ever be remembered."
- Video games and glorified violence: "You started glorifying cultures of violence. You glorified gang culture. You glorified games that actually give you points for raping and killing people."
- Bad parenting: "Where did we really go sideways in raising our kids? Perhaps we taught them to glorify the wrong things. All this violence that they constantly consume has come home to pay a major price. It is time for each and every one of us to say no more to the hate that we see, to the violence that we see."
- Politicians: "[Lawmakers on] both the right and the left, you’re both enamored by radicalized hate. You seem to hate everybody and everything. It’s time for you to end that too."
- Lack of local mental health services: "They [the federal government] have pushed this problem to the local level, and the local level is not equipped to deal with it. This is a state and national issue that they better wake up and start dealing with."
In recent years in America, any time there is a school shooting, the media is quick to place the lion's share of the blame on the gun — an inanimate object. So it's refreshing to see a sheriff be unafraid to passionately bring attention to issues that certainly contribute to a student choosing to bring a gun to school and kill his classmates.
Truth is, solutions can't be found if those at the table aren't willing to accept or even try to understand the underlying issues to a deep problem. Guns are the easy target, but breakdowns in society and the family are where the crux of this problem lies.