The Wawascene was created by Dr. Mark Stock, former Superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corporation. Due to its local popularity, Dr. Stock has left the blog site to future Wawasee administrators.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Freedom's costs are rising

So... we fly our flags again at half-staff in honor of another senseless mass murder. This time touching our raw nerves because it took away our young people on a college campus, a place that perhaps represents a place of natural idealism and youthful hope.

The costs of freedom and liberty are not always paid by soldiers fighting for our country.

The costs of liberty are often paid by the innocent bystanders and students caught in the deadly crossfire of another free person gone haywire.

Gun control won't fix it.
More campus police won't fix it.
A locked down, prison style security system won't fix it.

Watch everyone scream out now for their favorite solution.

The only real solutions lie within each individual and their personal responsibility and their responsibility to birth and to properly raise other healthy individuals. And there are still no guarantees in a land of liberty.



Bryan Waltz said...

Well said.

Martin Sims said...

We could be talking about the need to get tougher on domestic violence, or about how to better identify mental illnesses that could result in the injury or death of innocent people. We could be talking about a general alarm system that could be implemented campus-wide to immediately alert the staff and student body in such emergencies so that the people being directly affected would know to either hunker down and bar themselves in or evacuate the campus. We could be talking about making such large and public institutions prepare a link to any video/audio monitoring equipement so that police can immediately see or hear who, what, where and as a result be better able to respond to intruders exhibiting deadly intent.

Blaming guns will not prevent this type of crime from happening again. Just as blaming the car would not prevent a drunk driver from getting behind the wheel again. We need to have a honest look at practical measures that will allow for rapid alert and effective response on all school campuses in our country.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Dr. Stock, that the REAL solution lies in the responsibility of people to raise other responsible individuals. We've tried everything else, blamed everyone else, and pointed all the fingers we can, but until we come to the realization that WE MAKE OUR OWN CHOICES, it's only going to get worse.

Anonymous said...

As a community, we need to come together and support one another. This will help- not pointing fingers.

We can not regulate everyone or every place, but we can regulate ourselves and our actions. We should take this time of tragedy to stand together.

It's so sad it takes a tragedy for us to see that.

Anonymous said...

This young man was ill. Mental illness can't be prevented by parents. That's like saying it's the parents responsibility to raise their children not to be diabetic or have cancer.

However, we can control how we react when there is an armed person on campus. We can control what kinds of guns are sold and how people aquire permits.

I agree that there is no use pointing fingers after the fact. I also don't know if there is much we can do to prevent truely ill people of committing such crimes if they are determined to carry them out. I am not one of those over protective parents that keep their kids sheltered. I am for gun control because it makes sense. I would be very upset if my child was on a campus where an armed and dangerous person was running around and no warning was given.

Common Sense!

Anonymous said...

Don't be STUPID!

When society allows excuses, it enables people to commit atrocities and then not be held responsible.

Even IF we believe that mental illness is not preventable, I wonder if we should accept it.

Do we accept pedophiles who may have a predisposition and lack of control of those behaviors? No.
Do we accept alcoholism because there is a predisposition? No.
Do we accept abusive husbands, fathers, and mothers because they have a predisposition? No.
Do we accept Multiple Sclerosis or Muscular Dystrophy? No – we seek a cure.

Even IF we believe that this person had a mental illness…
Even IF we believe that mental illness is genuine…
Even IF we feel sorry for him and his family…
Even IF…
…we must stop allowing excuses and require people to accept personal responsibility. We can’t blame the parents, the neighbors, the roommates, the guns, or anything else.

Anonymous said...


The post you were responding to didn't say that mental illness was acceptable. It said that Dr. Stock's idea that it was the responsibility of the parents to prevent this. that somehow the parenting of the shooter was the problem.

Of course, we look for treatment or a "cure" for mental illness, but you can't always blame the parent.

And yes, I too agree that more sensible gun control will help curb the violence. We control cigarettes, we control drugs, why not control guns better?

Anonymous said...

I believe the second amendment requires access to guns.

In fact, it states that the rationale is to maintain a well-armed militia. Keeping the context in place, it is important to recognize that the framers' intent was to ensure that if the government became oppressive, which had been the case under English rule, the people would need the means to overthrow it.

I know that some argue that we have the National Guard, but this does not address the need to keep the government in check.

People should be permitted to have the weaponry necessary to fulfill this VERY important function.

Does anyone think that our government is oppressive?

Anonymous said...

Regardless of how well I do or don't raise my child they are in the school's care during the school day. Is the school protecting my child as well as I do when they are at home? NO! I've said it before and I won't bother saying it again it will just get deleted. Our schools are lax in security.

Anonymous said...

To the parent who says our schools are lax on security...

...I disagree with his/her postulate.

The schools have cameras and locked doors. There are police officers present in the buildings. I'm not sure what more you could want.

The person said that the school doesn't keep the kids as safe at school as she/he does at home. I doubt that for almost everyone. The reality is that people could invade almost all of our homes if they tried...and they could invade our school if they tried as well.

The only way that the schools could truly secure the buildings is to have them perpetually locked down -- which I doubt that any parent really wants. Consider what that would look like:

1) EVERY door to the building locked. Perhaps there would be a doorbell at the main entrance and then a staff person would have to come escort any visitor to their destination -- of course, not until after frisking the person and ensuring that she/he had a good reason to be there.
2) No book bags. It would be too easy to sneak things into the building with book bags and purses, so students and guests would not be able to carry those.
3) Metal detectors. Imagine sending 1000 students through those in a timely manner. ...and should we make them take off their shoes in case they have a shoe bomb?
4) Armed security guards wandering the buildings. And this is a really good idea -- as long as one of them doesn't go nuts...because they're armed.
5) Escorts. Of course, students would not be able to wander the building freely. They would always have to be escorted lunch, lockers, bathrooms -- hopefully the escorts are well vetted and not pedophiles.
6) No windows. Of course, someone could shoot through the windows -- so we'll need to remove those.

And all of this at taxpayer expense because people overreact to a very serious crime perpetrated against students. It truly is a serious crime, but I believe research would show that more people die in their homes (perhaps even their bathrooms) than in schools every year -- even due to violent crime. I believe research would show that more people die in car accidents than in schools. I believe that more children fall victims to abusive parents than to school violence.

I wonder if people really want security and the loss of our freedoms that this represents. We have security in airports, but it's a joke there...designed to make people FEEL as if they are safe...but they're not...and they wouldn't be much safer in schools unless we went to the extremes noted above...and perhaps we should eliminate all constitutional freedoms throughout society and impose a marshal law system so that people are safe -- and eliminate cars.

No. I don't wonder. That would be stupid.

Anonymous said...

Shame on you Dr. Stock. You shouldn't be pointing fingers. If my student applied and was accepted at Virginia Tech and then was MURDERED by another student how could you possibly blame the parents.

What you should be doing is looking closely at your response if a similar situation would arise at Wawasee. Both of my daughters told me this morning that if an attack was perpetrated from within the walls of either the middle school or the high school, the outcome would be worse than it was at VT. So now it is my turn to point the finger at you and ask questions:
Do you have a plan in place if the perpetrator is a student or teacher?
How long is the response time for the local police and warsaw or goshen swat to arrive?
What are plans for notifying the parents of the situation?

If you do not take this opportunity to look closely at the plan/procedure you have in place, the fingers will be pointing at you if something should happen locally, god forbid. And your only response will be to point the finger in the mirror.

Ruth said...

Thanks for your reflection. The need for taking reponsiblity for the goodness inside ourselves & those we care about inspires hope in the mist of disaster.

Anonymous said...

I trust the schools. I think there are "code red" plans (or whatever they are called". Most importantly, I trust the teachers. I know that 5 or 6 years ago when there was a fire at Syracuse and my daughter was "lost" there was obviously no plan in place, but I knew that the teachers would care for my child.

VT should have warned staff and students. They didn't. It was horrible.

This young man was ill, that is horrible, but the suggestion by Dr. Stock that it was his parents' fault is also horrible.

The young man's mental illness should have been treated, but not everything can be caught in time. It is easy to say he should of taken personal responsibilty, but part of being mentally ill is that you can't take personal responsibility.

Take less time blaming parents and more time looking for ways you yourself can make a difference.

acjvvk said...

I'm a little confused. Dr. Stock said parents have a responsibility to raise their children appropriately. I don't believe he accused the young man's parents of not having done that.

As almost any parent knows, you can do your best to raise your children to do what is right, but people choose their own path, especially as adults, which the VT shooter was.

Maybe some of the posters should lay off the accusations.

Superintendent Mark Stock said...

I suppose the way I worded the post it could be viewed by some as blaming "those" particular parents, but that was not my intent.

I went from a specific incident and then generalized to individual responsibility and generalized again to the broader issue of parental responsibility to try to raise emotionally healthy children. I was only trying to point out that the only fail-proof preventions lie within each and every individual - not just extrinsic preventions.

From many news accounts emerging it appears the young man had serious mental problems.

Raising emotionally healthy children IS a parental responsibility, but it doesn't logically follow that every individual who commits a violent crime was failed by their parents.

But just think how many more of these incidents there would be if there weren't so many caring and responsible parents.

Anonymous said...

I agree. In the words of David O. McKay, "No other success can compensate for failure in the home."