Once again, it is the talk of the Nation: Another horrendous mass shooting in a public school. If a country cannot assure its children are safe in public schools, I don’t think it deserves to call itself civilized. And if continued outcry for solutions doesn’t lead to improvement, then it’s a pretty piss-poor democracy. It’s been almost 20 years since Columbine – the school shooting that brought this issue to our attention April 20, 1999. But that was far from the first school shooting. School massacres are older than our democracy but have taken a seeming exponential rise over time. And in 2018, we’ve had 18 shootings already this year. Or have we? We cannot even agree on the statistics.
Snopes has a pretty thorough analysis of 2018 school shootings but I was disturbed by this sentence in their analysis – which seemed to downplay the statistics.
Only seven were intentional shootings that occurred during normal school hours.
Only seven! In the first six weeks of the year. Well, cheer up, everyone!!
While I agree that suicide at a school which has been closed for several months would not be a public school shooting, I would not classify incidents where no injuries occur as non-relevant. Snopes gives a thorough breakdown of each incident with details. In all, 22 deaths and 36 injuries. Just this year. Just in our schools.
And the laws are fucked up. In Florida, you have to wait 3 days to buy a handgun but an AR-15 style rifle? You can clear a background check and walk out with one in minutes. “Under federal law, you also must be 21 to buy a handgun from a firearms dealer. But 18-year-olds can buy semiautomatic rifles.” But there is some good news from the election of 45. “The publicly traded gun makers Sturm, Ruger & Company and American Outdoor Brands both lost about a quarter of their market value in the days after Mr. Trump’s victory. Earlier this week the Remington Outdoor Company, one of the country’s biggest and oldest gun manufacturers, said it would seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection amid plunging sales and mounting losses.”
Ironically, the fear mongering of the NRA is quite successful when “gun-control” Dems are elected, but their purchase of “pro-gun” GOP leaders has resulted in losses for the businesses that should find their efforts the most helpful.
So where can we look for answers?
I’d first like to direct you to a recent blog of someone I have newly discovered. She said so much so succinctly and so well that I have left much of it to her. Please check her out as she has much wisdom on this and many other topics. Here’s an excerpt from her Engineering, Parenthood, and a Solid Attempt at Adult Status blog Fuck you, I like guns. (Note – the title is a quote and accounts for a third of the f-bombs in the piece. She does a nice job of making solid points with excellent analogies and minimal cursing.) :
“This (AR-15) rifle is so deadly and so easy to use that no civilian should be able to get their hands on one. We simply don’t need these things in society at large. I always find it interesting that when I was in the Army, and part of my job was to be incredibly proficient with this exact weapon, I never carried one at any point in garrison other than at the range. Our rifles lived in the arms room, cleaned and oiled, ready for the next range day or deployment. We didn’t carry them around just because we liked them. We didn’t bluster on about barracks defense and our second amendment rights. We tucked our rifles away in the arms room until the next time we needed them, just as it had been done since the Army’s inception. The military police protected us from threats in garrison. They had 9 mm Berettas to carry. They were the only soldiers who carry weapons in garrison. We trusted them to protect us, and they delivered. With notably rare exceptions, this system has worked well. There are fewer shootings on Army posts than in society in general, probably because soldiers are actively discouraged from walking around with rifles, despite being impeccably well trained with them. Perchance, we could have the largely untrained civilian population take a page from that book?” ~ Fuck you. I like guns. 2/15/18
Weapons meant for quick people-killing are NOT the type of gun you want anywhere… except maybe the front lines of a war. This blogger makes an amazing argument and I’m hopeful her voice will make an impact on this issue.
Australia has figured it out. After a mass shooting in 1996 by a gunman who killed 35 and wounded 23 more – notably NOT in a school – Australia implemented a massive buyback of semi-automatic weapons and implemented “new gun laws (which) prohibited private sales, required that all weapons be individually registered to their owners, and required that gun buyers present a “genuine reason” for needing each weapon at the time of the purchase. (Self-defense did not count.)” While that may not be feasible in America “Land of the Free, Home of the Brave”, it has been successful in Australia: “In the decade before the Port Arthur massacre, there had been 11 mass shootings in the country. There hasn’t been a single one in Australia since.”
Switzerland has a pretty good system too where men ages 20-30 (34 for officers) are issued guns (for militia training) which they can keep at home. However, there are strict controls on ammunition. Every round is accounted for in regular checks. In recent years, only the gun is kept at home and ammo is retrieved from nearby in case of a need for militia (with the exception of a few designated people).
Danny often argues that we don’t have to worry about guns if we should make ammo EXTREMELY expensive. If it cost $100/round or even $25/round, you’d be thinking hard about each time you shot. At shooting ranges, you could purchase all the ammo you want really inexpensively. But you’d have to shoot it all there. We could even subsidize this ammo with the “home” ammo purchases. And what about those who make their own ammunition? In the time spent making bullets, they’d have time to think about where those bullets were going to be used. And, if they used them in the wrong place, pre-meditation would be easy to prove.
Maybe the Youth in America will finally resolve the issue. The #MeNext and #NeverAgain movements, along with the planned walkout on 4/20, the anniversary of Columbine, may give the wake-up call we need. I’m hopeful we won’t have to wait until these young people are all old enough to replace the bought-and-paid-for NRA politicians we have in place now. But fear runs strong in America and many just can’t see any cure for guns except… more guns. I think the real cure is to work on getting rid of the fear. But the rich and powerful love it when we’re afraid… especially of each other.
And how might this affect the race for Governor in Minnesota? No telling. But what we do know is that Walz has an A+ rating from the NRA… on which Erin Murphy has said, “That means he’s done their work plus the extra credit to get the plus.” Love it. Note: Erin has an F rating from the NRA, supports “limits on sales of certain ammunition, expanded background checks and a ban on sales of AR-15 rifles in Minnesota,” which puts her toward the top in my ratings. While Rebecca Otto appears to be our most Progressive candidate, with the data indicating she will beat out the competition, I’m guessing the DFL will weakly decide to run with DINO candidate Walz and end up losing anyway. They’ve maybe learned nothing from the Bernie Sanders / Hillary Clinton fiasco from last cycle. Or the continued horror happening in our schools.