Potential shooters need help

Assemblymember Jim Cooper’s bill would provide counseling too

Reading Dylan Svoboda’s comprehensive article about threats at Sacramento area schools over recent months (News, page 10), I was stunned at the number of incidents. It’s no wonder local students are joining the nationwide walkout demanding action.

It has been heartening, since last month’s massacre, to hear the voices of teenagers who are fed up with the staus quo. It’s inspiring to witness their fearless attacks against the NRA and the politicians who take its money. And it has been satisfying to hear these young activists dismissing the NRA’s and President Trump’s solution—arming and training teachers to protect schools.

Sacramento Assemblymember Jim Cooper agrees with the kids. “Arming teachers is not good public policy and shouldn’t be considered,” Cooper says in a release announcing a bill he authored, now in committee.

Cooper’s School Gun Violence Prevention Act is an urgent piece of common-sense legislation that, among other things, would “provide an enhanced system to detect and act upon early warning signs” by mandating that all California middle schools have a school counselor.

From the release: “According to a 2004 report issued by the United States Department of Education and the United States Secret Service, of 37 incidents of targeted school violence, nearly three-quarters of attackers felt bullied, threatened, attacked, or were injured prior to the incident.”

This is the root of the problem—something few politicians are willing to confront. Yes: We need to reform our gun laws. We also need to recognize that there’s something bad happening to some of our kids, and they need our help.