Dear Editor,

This past week has been an especially difficult one for this country.

Again, gun safety is challenging this nation. Research shows that increased gun safety has been ferociously opposed particularly by white Americans. This is primarily true in rural areas.

The enticement of guns to men cuts across racial lines. (NetCE Mass Shooters and Murderers: Motives and Paths 4/1/2019).

So, with this in mind, it should not be shocking to find out that Gulf County Schools have chosen to participate in the state’s Guardian Program.

Only one School Board member remained firm in her resolve to oppose this decision. This member is Cindy Belin. I thank her for her courage of conviction. I thank her for teaching our children how to walk through fear and address violence in a better way. Violence begets violence.

Fear is a barrier to thinking critically and making unimpaired decisions. It is well known now that the interaction of paranoid ideation and narcissistic pathology captures the psychopathology of mass shooters.

Suicide is a more impulsive act. Neither can be predicted but both can be prevented. Using profiling data is very helpful in identifying serial murderers. (Melody JR. Journal of Threat Assessment and Management 2015; 2-3-4:231-242).

With this knowledge, it is far better to intelligently formulate interventions that demonstrate empowerment without duplication of violence.

Harden our schools.

Keep our safety officers in place. Increase mental health staff (not guidance counselors). Properly trained mental health counselors can assess children and parents who are struggling. They can arrange for private counselors who will have the opportunity to provide help with the development of positive coping skills and stop the progression from grievance to violent attack.

It is past time to end the cycle of violence and teach our children that there are far better solutions to life’s problems than settling scores with fists, knives, guns, and, rifles.

It can only be done by grownups leading the way. Domestic Violence can be diminished with fewer firearms; and, increased ability to verbalize grievances before they reach mass shooter stage.

Let us teach our children to think critically and act thoughtfully.

Bernadette Hackett

Wewahitchka

Member, Democratic Executive Committee