Bergner: Florida shooting revealing our finger-pointing society

Column: 'Raising Prescott'

West Boca Raton Community High School students sophomore Leona Zaborsky, 16, right, and senior Julia Wheeler, 18, hug after reaching Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. Hundreds of students walked out of the school Tuesday and made their way to the site of a school shooting about 10 miles (16 kilometers) away in a show of solidarity for bringing an end to gun violence. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

West Boca Raton Community High School students sophomore Leona Zaborsky, 16, right, and senior Julia Wheeler, 18, hug after reaching Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. Hundreds of students walked out of the school Tuesday and made their way to the site of a school shooting about 10 miles (16 kilometers) away in a show of solidarity for bringing an end to gun violence. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a time when you express love for a significant other. Flowers, chocolates, a night on the town or just a quiet evening dinner at home for two after the kids go to bed.

Although I don’t fully buy into the whole Valentine’s Day hype every year, I still love to spend time with my wife. We enjoy the alone time together, even if it is just a chance to catch up over a steak dinner.

This year, unfortunately, the topic of conversation wasn’t so wonderful. My wife and I spent hours talking about the safety of our children after the Parkland, Florida, shooting.

Today marks a week since a 19-year-old gunman opened fire at a Florida high school, killing 17 people and sending scores of students fleeing into the streets. A dozen-plus others were wounded and may still be fighting for their lives in area hospitals.

Parents are burying their children as I write this column, a sad, yet tragic reality we’ve been thrust into as a society.

The President blames another country and the FBI. Students blame politicians. Politicians blame mental illness. Some people blame guns. Media talking heads blame social issues like same-sex marriage or abortion as the cause. Athletes and movie stars blame the President. And on and on and on.

While an entire country of adults partakes in the blame game, our kids are spending their adolescence focused on somehow making it through the day without getting shot at school instead of turning in homework, or studying for a test.

Yes, young students in the 1950s did “duck and cover” drills in preparation for a nuclear attack. In the early 1990s, inner city kids learned the “bullet drill” in attempt to avoid gang shootings. In the late 1990s, we did “lockdown drills.” Of course, every student has gone through fire drills.

But today? Today in America, nine out of 10 public schools holds mass shooting drills for its students, according to the National Center of Education Statistics. Since the 1999 Columbine school shooting, 32 states have passed laws requiring schools to conduct lockdown drills to keep students safe from intruders.

And if you’re thinking, “This can’t happen here.” Think again. Parkland is a small town of 30,000-plus residents not far from the big city of Miami. Does that sound anything like Prescott or Prescott Valley?

This is the second mass-shooter column I’ve written in the past five months, the last being, “5 tips on talking to your kids about mass shootings,” which was penned in October after the Las Vegas shooting.

Today, I’m not going to offer an explanation, or place blame for the sudden rise in school shootings in America. Or “mass shootings” for that matter.

Why? Because we’re all at fault. We are all to blame. We are not doing enough. We need to do more. What that more is, I don’t know. I hope and pray we figure it out soon.

Brian M. Bergner Jr. is sports editor for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @SportsWriter52, or on Facebook at @SportsAboveTheFold. Email bbergner@prescottaz.com or call 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.