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True leaders make difficult decisions

In a matter of seconds another community was ripped apart Wednesday, 17 of its most vulnerable citizens senselessly taken from this world.

For many, the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., feels painfully similar to those at Marshall County High School, Sandy Hook Elementary School, Columbine and so many others.

It will take true courage and leadership to protect our children.

If our lawmakers won’t do it nationally, we have to start one school, one community at a time.

Day after day, year after year, we talk in circles about what the potential solutions are: More gun control. Less gun control. Mental health counseling. Better school security. Harsher punishments.

All of these may be a piece of the puzzle. Or they may not.

Now is the time to stop talking and look at developing detailed and diverse strategies we can begin implementing on a grassroots level in our communities. Then, we have to begin expanding that sphere of influence across the nation.

Unfortunately, many of our elected officials seem to be paralyzed by political ideologies, partisanship and the absolute inability to compromise.

We have to do something. Anything.

Are warning signs being missed or mishandled? Certainly, but that is simply another excuse to delay action.

Schools do need to take a look at security measures to ensure they’re taking all reasonable steps towards providing a safe educational environment, but where do we draw the line?

Our public school systems will become indistinguishable from our prisons.

Homeschooling and online-only educational approaches can be an option, but the social interaction is an absolutely critical piece of the school experience. Those hybrid education systems certainly begin to look different when weighed against keeping our children safe.

We often hear these are isolated incidents perpetrated by disturbed individuals, but if we have learned anything at all, it is that no community is immune. No community is safe.

Tragedies like Parkland and Marshall County can happen anywhere.

Nothing we do will erase the pain for these communities, but we cannot continue to talk in circles and stick to inflexible approaches that have failed to solve the problem.

Difficult decisions require courageous leadership. Inaction is not an option.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Jessamine Journal and Jessamine Life magazine. He can be reached at (859) 469-6452 or by email at mike.caldwell@jessaminejournal.com.