US

Wisconsin sheriff pens viral letter addressing the 'root cause' behind Parkland shooting

A Wisconsin sheriff recently penned a letter addressing what he believes is the "root cause" behind the Parkland school shooting and other recent mass shootings. (Image source: WITI-TV screenshot)

One Wisconsin sheriff believes the conversation in the wake of the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14 is futile and will lead to no real solutions.

That debate has mostly centered on firearms — both for and against new regulations — and the National Rifle Association. There have been many reports about the failings of law enforcement ahead of the shooting, but the focus remains on the guns.

But Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt believes the root cause of the increased prevalence of mass shootings has yet to be thoroughly discussed. So he wrote a letter to his community addressing what he sees as the impetus of shootings like the one at MSD.

What did he say?

Schmidt began by pointing out that just a few decades ago, many high school students would have a hunting rifle in their vehicle in the school parking lot.

"So what has changed and more importantly how do we fix it?" Schmidt asked. "I think it is safe to say that there is no quick and easy solution."

The sheriff stated the real solution is "obviously very complex," but begins with "our youth lacking basic skills including respect for authority figures like parents and teachers, the ability to cope with conflict and the ability to handle rejection."

"I believe it is imperative that we raise our children in a manner that instills respect for authority. While we all love our children, we need to get back to a society of parents who expect a level of respect toward both them and others in authority, including teachers," Schmidt wrote. "Discipline needs to be reintegrated into our society. Parents, don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t or shouldn’t reasonably discipline your child in a non-abusive manner."

"Teachers need to have the support of parents when they make disciplinary decisions and parents need to resist the urge of running to the defense of their children when a teacher feels the need to discipline. It undermines their authority and will likely be treated as an example for actions toward others in authority in the future," he added.

The sheriff also pointed to the "participation trophy" culture as part of the root cause.

"While no one wants their child to ever be disappointed or upset, when they are young, they need to face conflict and disappointment and learn to resolve it appropriately under the guidance of adults. It is part of developing their personality and dealing with conflict in the future," Schimdt explained.

He ended the letter by explaining that his intention in writing the letter was not to place blame on anyone. Instead, he wants to have a conversation about the real cause of the problem so that real solutions can be found and real progress made.

Read the full letter below:

Following every mass killing, I ask myself, what has happened to our society? I also wonder what the solution is to ensure our families do not become future victims.

Many have pointed out that years ago, people would go to school and have hunting rifles in their vehicles. Yet, mass violence in schools and other locations did not happen as in society today. It makes me think that there must be a root cause that we are not addressing that has led to this change.

So what has changed and more importantly how do we fix it? Media reports of school walk-outs and gun control discussions are becoming more prevalent than ever, all in an effort to find a quick and easy solution. I think it is safe to say that there is no quick and easy solution.

I think perhaps we are not evaluating the true root cause which is obviously very complex. We must make efforts to change our society as a whole. It’s my belief that the root cause starts with our youth lacking basic skills including respect for authority figures like parents and teachers, the ability to cope with conflict and the ability to handle rejection. Further issues like mental health and alcohol/drug use also play a role, but column length restrictions limit my ability to cover all aspects of the root cause today.

I believe it is imperative that we raise our children in a manner that instills respect for authority. While we all love our children, we need to get back to a society of parents who expect a level of respect toward both them and others in authority, including teachers. Discipline needs to be reintegrated into our society. Parents, don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t or shouldn’t reasonably discipline your child in a non-abusive manner. Teachers need to have the support of parents when they make disciplinary decisions and parents need to resist the urge of running to the defense of their children when a teacher feels the need to discipline. It undermines their authority and will likely be treated as an example for actions toward others in authority in the future.

What about inability to cope or handle rejection? For years we have watched as competition has been replaced by participation awards that are given to make children feel good. While no one wants their child to ever be disappointed or upset, when they are young, they need to face conflict and disappointment and learn to resolve it appropriately under the guidance of adults. It is part of developing their personality and dealing with conflict in the future. When youth are not taught how to handle difficult situations, they must find their own way to cope, which without guidance may be result in unhealthy or even dangerous future behavior. I am no expert and am merely giving an opinion of what I have seen in my own experience, but I feel that my opinions have merit as I have witnessed people dealing with difficult situations at the worst times of their lives.

My point in writing this is not to place blame but rather to start conversations on what truly is the root cause of violence in society. Many have strong opinions about gun control but realistically gun control will do nothing more than place a very small band aid on a much bigger problem. It is imperative that we have serious discussions on what we can do to change the norms of our society and positively impact the decisions our youth make. It’s time to refocus our energy to affect long lasting change so that we can keep Dodge County a safe and enjoyable place to live, work and visit.

Sheriff Dale J. Schmidt

(H/T: WITI-TV)

One last thing...
Watch TheBlaze live and on demand on any device, anywhere, anytime.
TRY PREMIUM