Report possible threats to help stop mass killings

The news last week that a gunman attacked journalists at a Maryland newspaper and killed five people was disconcerting to say the least. We know firsthand that people take things that are printed in a newspaper personally. We receive threats on occasion telling us if we run an item in the court report about them that there will be a price to pay. We don’t create the issue that causes the item to appear in the court report, we just publish the result of the criminal activity. There is a simple answer to this problem for perpetrators and that is don’t do the crime and we won’t have to report on it.

The fact that it happened at a newspaper makes it more personal for us, but it is no worse than school shootings or shootings at a concert, a movie theater or any other venue. We need to have more emphasis put on mental health related issues in our country. We need to identify the problems that drive people to take these extreme measures before they actually commit the heinous act. More civility in our country is something we all need to work toward.

We encourage all people to pay attention to what is happening around them. If you hear someone make a threat toward a person or business, please contact authorities and let them determine if the threat is real or not. Better to err on the side of safety than find yourself saying after the fact that you didn’t think the person was serious. We also want parents to talk with their kids to find out what is happening in schools so potential problems can be averted. You must be proactive in initiating the conversation with kids and ask them specific questions to see if they have concerns at school.

In some previous shootings, information was discovered that if reported and properly addressed could have stopped the tragedy from happening.

Let’s all be proactive and try to prevent future events like the shooting in Maryland from happening.

Improve your situational awareness and reach out to get help for people who look like they are distressed and in need of help.