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A Matter of Life and Death

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After the death of a star student last spring, Florida high school teacher Paul Moore got to thinking about accountability. The student, Jeffrey Johnson, was the third at Miami Carol City Senior High School to be shot to death that academic year. Moore drafted a petition to governor Charlie Crist demanding that he make the state's schools and their surrounding communities safer. He concluded: "You are accountable to us for it!" Moore's petition, which several thousand people have signed, focuses on tightening Florida's gun laws, which are among the most lenient in the country. "I see these kids as the canary in the coal mine," Moore says. "They're the first to go. But ultimately all our lives are in danger."

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Yet another thing that someone else is accountable for. Gun control is among the most controversial topics in our society, but what does Mr. Moore expect the state to do? Is there any proved data that says that the state can do anything to stop this kind of violence through enforcement or legislation. Although I am not sure how I feel about gun control, I am sure that if the killings are gang related, there isn't much that the state can do. However, there should be something that the local community can do about it, and it seems that this is where the solution should start.

One of the key errors we have to avoid is often called "right problem, wrong solution." I think this is a serious problem; but I think it needs to be addressed at the proper level. Communities need to hold themselves accountable for solving local problems.

I am sure many people will disagree with this, but it should make for some interesting discussion.

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