“You’ve got to get in there right now! He’s killing people! He’s killing people!”
Cops all over the nation — some who have already heard those words blurted out by folks in sheer terror, and others who are preparing themselves for the moment when they will have to ride to the sound of the guns — have made their voices heard in a sweeping survey conducted by PoliceOne about gun policies in the U.S. and law enforcement’s beliefs about them.
Cops have spoken out on issues of gun violence, gun ownership, and gun control, and (you may find this very hard to believe) they have some strong opinions!
When asked what they believe is the biggest cause of gun violence in the United States, officers place most of the blame on the decline in parenting and family values. They also feel criminals are released onto parole too often and too early, while others receive inadequate sentences to begin with.
The full breakdown on this section reads:
• Decline in parenting and family values: 38 percent
• Parole, early release, and short sentencing for violent offenders: 15 percent
• Pop culture influence (violent movies, video games):14 percent
• Poor identification of mentally ill individuals: 10 percent
• Guns are too prevalent and easy to obtain: 4 percent
• Economic factors/income quality: 2 percent
• Other: 14 percent
• Unsure: 2 percent
It would seem that officers responding to the survey believe that increased numbers of dysfunctional families and an increasingly-violent culture increases the risk that unstable individuals may resort to mass murder.
As Ron Avery writes in his analysis of the survey, most officers of all ranks and department sizes say that to help prevent large scale shootings in the future, law-abiding citizens should be armed, not disarmed.
They favor more permissible concealed-carry policies for citizens as well as placing more armed guards and security personnel at key locations.
A minority of those responding to the survey believe that legislative restrictions on “assault weapons” and magazines would have any effect on the problem of gun violence.
The most vocal political leaders have committed the fatal error of problem solving by taking a closed-minded approach, immediately attacking a symptom of the problem (guns), rather than the problem itself (the killers).
If pursued to fruition, their efforts are very likely to create another problem for the nation rather than solve one.
Open-Minded Problem Solving
Every problem-solving model in existence contains steps where real problem solvers with an open mind identify the problem, learn about the problem and gather input from those with knowledge and experience. This must be done before rushing to judgment on viable solutions.
To solve the problem of the active shooter, our political leaders need to turn away from the podium and toward the officers who have spent a career as solutions looking for a problem to solve and ask what PoliceOne has asked officers nationwide:
“What do you think?”