It can happen …

It can happen in Minot.

As we all try to digest the atrocity in Parkland, Florida, we cannot fool ourselves into thinking something like that couldn’t happen in our part of the world.

It could. Furthermore, given the acceleration in the occurrences of school shootings, the question really isn’t if, it’s when. No, most of us might not live long enough to see it in our town, but we will likely see it on our region or in towns just like ours.

What’s worse – much worse – is that even in the aftermath of this week’s horror, there will be precious little open and honest discussion about the contributing factors to mass shootings like this or any realistic attempt at solutions. We saw this within hours of the shooting in Florida. Political leaders and other parties retreated to their dumbed down talking points instead of speaking the truth, immediately politicizing something that needs exactly the opposite.

More children are going to be shot in schools because we can’t even have a grown-up discussion about it. Some want to pretend there is a simple solution, like more gun control. These people must also believe that outlawing drugs eliminates the drug problem and a wall on the southern border will keep illegal immigrants from getting into the country.

On the opposite end of that perspective are those willing to accept losses instead of addressing a comprehensive plan to try to improve the situation.

The reality is that this is not a simple challenge fixed by one or more laws. That is rubbish. You can’t address a complex cultural issue with laws. You can’t fix broken families, lack of human sensitivity, lack of respect for human life and rampant, untreated mental illness, with public policy.

Until we can talk to one another like adults on all of these subjects, we should get used to mass killings like this.

Understand, Parkland, Florida is not an anomaly. Although TV talking heads refer to that town’s location in proximity to Miami, that’s really deceptive. Parkland is the kind of wealthy enclave most in Florida only aspire to live in. It does not have the racial or violence history that Miami does. It is a well-manicured, affluent community within minutes drive from Palm Beach and Boca Raton – two of the wealthiest, most glamorous cities in the nation. It is the type of community to which Miami residents hope to move to escape street culture and violence.

And yet this…

If it can happen there, it can happen anywhere. And it will keep happening until today’s leaders change or are supplanted by those willing to play the role of grown-ups in the room. Sadly, there is no sign of that happening after this horror or any of those that have manifested in recent years. Sad for the nation. But also a warning to the rest of us.