Our national security leaders remind us daily “if you see something, say something” as part of the national effort to prevent terrorist attacks. http://www.dhs.gov/see-something-say-something/about-campaign
These “terrorist” attacks happen close to home, every week – on campuses, in movie theatres, even in churches.
Mass shootings have claimed nearly a thousand innocent lives since Sandy Hook in 2012. (link here to Gun Rights post)
While each is blamed on some different trigger – social isolation, a broken heart, or fascination with an exaggerated fictional character — there is one common denominator. All of these killers were young, male, alienated, unemployed, and at least partially dependent on parental housing and support.
As a Santa Clara County Family Court appointed Child Advocate, I was required on penalty of criminal charges to report any suspicion of child abuse to the court –I was a deemed “mandatory reporter”. Teachers, social workers, doctors, and law enforcement officers are, similarly, required to report any suspicion of abuse – no matter how unlikely.
Earlier this year, Maryland threatened parents with the loss of custody of their elementary school age children because they allowed them to walk one mile home from school or the park without an adult. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/04/13/parents-investigated-letting-children-walk-alone/25700823/
In most states there is no “spousal immunity” if a parent witnesses the other parent abusing a child. The failure to immediately report the incident can result in criminal prosecution.
Government Should Not Absolve Parents of Their Responsibility
In every case of a mass shooting, we learn there was a parent who was aware of their child’s mental instability and their access to high powered firearms. In some cases, it was actually the parent who purchased the weapon.
After the killing is over, the surviving parents express regret.
The parents claim that even while they were paying for the mental health treatment of their adult children, privacy restrictions placed on mental health professionals prevented them from learning the full extent of the child’s mental incapacity. http://murphy.house.gov/latest-news/reps-murphy-and-johnson-reintroduce-the-helping-families-in-mental-health-crisis-act/
That’s an excuse.
Congress should pass legislation to make parents “mandatory reporters” in any situation where an adolescent or adult child is suffering some level of mental instability and has access to guns.
Authorities would then have an opportunity to assess the risk and take necessary legal steps to confiscate the fire arms if warranted.
Cherish your Guns but Cherish our Children More
I come from a family of gun owners.
It’s a right we cherish.
But we cherish more the notion that our children are entitled to a life free from fear at school or at the movies!
In addition to emailing, texting or tweeting your Representatives and Senators to urge new mandatory reporting legislation – “if you see something, say something” – even if its someone else’s child http://www.people.com/article/school-shooting-plot-stopped-in-california — unless you’d find apologizing if you overreacted more painful than burying your child.