I think we need to all just accept the fact that the politicians, NRA, lobbyists, etc are never going to come to a consensus about what the government should or should not do about school shootings. I wish they would. I wish they would find a way to solve the issue in a way that makes everyone happy. But I'm not holding my breath, and neither should you.
Instead of vainly wishing that everyone would agree (with you), we should try to work from a place where we all already agree. And I think most people can agree on the following:
1) School shootings are bad.
2) School shooters are mentally unbalanced.
So while the gun control fights wage on, let's discuss what we can do in the meantime to help prevent school shootings. We can't wait for everyone to join hands and agree to X Solution. We have to act now.
Now, I'm not a psychologist, and I don't claim to be an expert. But I am really smart, and I spend a lot of time on the Internet, so you know. I'm to be taken seriously.
I want you to think of everyone you know. Yep. Everyone. Now I want you to eliminate all the females. I know, I know. But let's be realistic. Girls don't pull this kind of shit. They just don't.
Now I want you to eliminate really old and really young males. Because four years olds and 90 year olds don't pull this kind of shit either.
Ok. So now you have a pool of potential school shooters. Now you need to learn the signs of dangerous mental illness. Read a psychology book or something. And also, use your common sense. A teenage boy who wears black and mopes around and writes bad poetry isn't a dangerously mentally ill person. He's just a pretentious douche. He'll grow out of it. Also, just because a kid doesn't have a lot of friends, that doesn't mean he's a school shooter in training either. No really. It doesn't. And obviously you can eliminate the kids and young men who are actually well adjusted, or who are only mildly mentally defective.
Now you've probably narrowed it down to just a few troubled young men. I know, you're probably thinking - "It's not my job to get involved. It's his parents' job." Yeah, no. It's your job. Here's why.
Some parents are too emotionally involved to make objective decisions about their sons. They don't want to admit that their son could be a psychopath. And some parents simply have shit for brains and some parents genuinely don't care about their kids.
So yes, you have to get involved.
Here's how I see it going -
You: Hey, Troubled Teen. I see you're writing something there. What are you writing?
Troubled Teen: My manifesto.
You: Oh, how nice.
Then you go search Troubled Teen's room and find the little fucker's guns and explosives and you call the freaking cops!!!
I think privacy for teens is overrated. I'm not saying we should lock up every kid who happens to have read The Anarchist's Cookbook, but I am saying that if you know a kid who is, shall we say, "a bit off" and has exhibited some disturbing behaviours, like torturing animals or stocking up on explosives, maybe you take a peek in his notebook. Maybe you look in his closet. Maybe you talk to his friends. It doesn't have to be some crazy Orwellian monitoring situation. Just basic checking would go a long way to making sure this kind of shit doesn't happen.
Because totally normal young men don't just wake up one day and decide to shoot a bunch of people. There are signs. There is planning. And it is OUR responsibility to stop them. Do not rely on the parents. Do not rely on the teachers. Do not rely on the government. If you know a guy who is disturbed, check him out. Try to get him some help, or call the police as the situation warrants.
I mean, don't be crazy about it. I'm not suggesting we form a mob and go get the weird kid who lives down the block. I'm just saying, keep an eye out for the kind of crazy that kills people. And if you have good reason (Note, I say GOOD reason. Not "the kid is weird" or "the kid has a lot of piercings". Good means he has a lot of anger and access to weapons, etc.) to suspect that someone is capable of causing great harm to others, you need to step in and try to help or hinder as necessary.