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Letter: To end the bloodshed, we need to seek solutions together
02222018 GUN PROTEST ATLANTA
Volunteers with the advocacy group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America hold a banner during a demonstration to lobby the legislature for stricter gun laws, in front of the Georgia Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Benjamin Nadler)

Once again, we are forced to mourn the loss of youth. Once again, we are forced to ask why this keeps happening.

I will not use my time here to recap the tragic events that robbed 17 young people of their lives in Parkland, Fla., last week. Nor will I encourage a debate (argument? brawl?) over gun control. Both are sad and pointless. I would like to take a step toward my more conservative friends and ask that we find a solution that we both can agree to.

I have heard the term mental health thrown around. I believe we do need a health system in this country that includes mental health. I believe that we, as a society only get sicker when we as individuals are allowed to suffer. 

I have also heard that security should be tightened at schools. This normally falls into one of two categories: we can arm the faculty or we can have more traditional security, such as guards, metal-detectors and fences. While I have serious qualms with either of these solutions, I am willing to start a conversation here.

In order to have a real discussion about either fixing untreated mental health issues or improving security at our schools, however, we need to talk about how to do it. To buy every member of every faculty of every school a handgun would be the cheapest solution (although I would also say the most problematic), so let’s start there. How are we funding this? Surely, we cannot expect our kids to sell candy bars so that their teachers can have a 9mm. 

We can ask Washington for help, but many of us do not want a top-down approach to education. We would rather keep it local. If the money is to come from the local districts, that would mean a hike in property taxes. Are we willing to pay? Again, this is the cheapest option. If we want more guards, fences or metal detectors, the price goes up. If we want to treat mental illnesses, the price goes up even more.

Come on, though. These are our children. Price is no object. We must ensure their safety. After all, don’t we all go to work to give them a better life?

There are those, of course, who believe that there is no solution. Society has broken down. People are little more than animals now. This is just the way it is.

No. This is not the way it is. This is not the way it should be. And, one way or another, this is not the way it’s going to be. I refuse to believe that we cannot solve this problem. I refuse to believe that we value our children so little. If we, as Americans, cannot come together and try to stop this insane bloodshed, then we have no right to ever talk about how great our country is again.

I believe in America. And I believe our kids deserve to live.

Jeff Casper

Gainesville

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