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Schools of Thought: Talk of guns in school does not always have to be negative

Mark Sahli

When we hear the words "school shooting" uttered, the immediate reaction to any talk or news pertaining to guns, guns in schools and school shooting events sways thoughts to something negative or bad has happened.

Thirty years ago or even less, this never seemed as frequent of a concern. Gun racks in pickup rear windows with rifles hanging from them was common place.Shotguns with shell boxes resting beside them were often in back seats and trunks of cars.

Any talk of dogs being brought in, were those dogs used in the hunt after the school day was over. These dogs were not brought in to sniff and search for drugs and weapons.

Perhaps those days were of simpler times. Maybe media coverage by today's standards is much more scrutinizing and somewhat sensationalized. Maybe guns are not as big of a problem as other factors involved in these school shooting events. The guns were just sitting and idle in those gun racks and trunks years ago, without someone assisting them to do those awful things.

The gun debate is a very old debate. It might be as old as Buffalo Bill's Union suit or even older, and will continue to rage on as long as the Second Amendment remains intact and unfortunate events continue to happen.

With this bit of historical perspective in place, it leads one down the road of two schools of thought

regarding school shooting events.

The main school of thought is of course how to stop the tragic events we have had over the last two decades and what processes need to be implemented to prevent further incidents.

The other school of thought is a new twist on an old concept mentioned earlier in this column. That is the reimplementation of guns into schools in a positive way.

The last few years have seen school shooting teams pop up in our area and throughout the country. Just tying a school name to anything related to guns in some form that does not have to do with a negative event, is a good first step in the right direction. Hunter safety courses were originally taught in the school classrooms as part of vocational classes. Trap shooting teams are growing rapidly and we have had a local SCTP (Scholastic Clay Target Program) team right here in the West Fargo area for the last three years. The Shooting Park in Horace hosted their state event the last three years and just hosted the first high school tournament. Another scholastic tournament and US Army shooting event for youth is coming next month. The idea of these teams and programs is to show positive connotations can be associated between guns and schools.

If we survived through many years of guns being in vehicles on school grounds and in plain sight in many cases without bad incidents happening, then why can't we do it now?

As a parent, I worry and wonder what can be done to not have anything bad happen in our schools or anywhere for that matter. As a gun owner, I worry and wonder how we can bring a positive light to guns and gun usage.

There are many more thoughts that this topic will spawn within both of these schools of thought and feedback from both sides of the debate are welcome here.

No matter what school of thought you belong to, inanimate objects like guns, computers, smartphones and even a glass of wine, will just sit there until a human being chooses to do something with that object. The choice can be something good or bad and the results can also be good or bad. Schools are a place to educate. The more education available to any and all schools should be welcomed and encouraged.

What is your school of thought when it comes to school shooting events?

Sahli is a long-time West Fargo resident, parent, coach, outdoor enthusiast, and former columnist for NDSU Bison athletics in varying publications. He can be reached at for comments and ideas.