May 26, 2022

School Shooting

“A teenage gunman murdered at least 19 children and two teachers after storming into a Texas elementary school on Tuesday.” Reuters

Democrats and some Republicans in the U.S. Senate discussed tightening reviews of gun buyers following the deadliest school shooting in nearly a decade, although members of both parties acknowledged action was unlikely.” Reuters

See past issues

From the Left

The left is critical of militarizing schools, and calls for additional gun control measures and mental health resources.

“Just hours after the shooting, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) said that ‘we have to harden these targets [schools] so no one can get in — ever — except through one entrance.’ The notion that schools are ‘targets’ that need to be ‘hardened’ as if they are army bases only makes sense in a world where all society has been militarized — where widespread ownership of guns has thrown us into a conflictual state where public authorities have no real capacity to prevent mass slaughters. Elementary school students do not fit well into this cosmology. Fourth-graders cannot wield weapons safely; there is no such thing as a ‘good child with a gun.’ But this is the country that gun rights ideology has created: one where the murder of little children becomes the price we pay for their vision of freedom.”

Zack Beauchamp, Vox

"No other country is as heavily armed as the US. The closest country is Yemen -- a place in the throes of a long civil war -- and even then, gun ownership is less than half the US… Adjusted for population size, you are roughly 90 times more likely to be killed by an assailant with a gun in the US than you are in England and Wales, which have a population under a fifth the size of the US and where there were 30 homicides by shooting in the year ending March 2020, according to the most recent data available from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). The same year in the US, according to CDC data, there were more than 14,800 homicides with a firearm…

“So, let's dispose of the National Rifle Association talking point that we will surely be hearing ad nauseam in the coming days; that it's not about the weapon, it's about the shooter. Are Americans really drastically more mentally unstable than the British? Of course not. The issue is easy access to guns.”

Peter Bergen, CNN

“Although the shooter had crashed his car and been ‘engaged by law enforcement,’ before entering the school, he still made it inside. As the number of school resource officers has ballooned over the last two decades, so has the number of school shootings. There is no evidence that police have the ability to stop these shootings from happening…

“‘There’s no evidence that we’re aware of, would love to see it if it exists, of having police in schools as a way to make schools safer or prevent school shootings,’ said Marc Schindler, co-author of an April 2021 Brookings Institution and American Enterprise Institute report on school policing… ‘What does keep schools safe is having more well trained mental health counselors, social workers, and alternative resolution dispute programs,’ Schindler said. But schools already lack the resources for necessary mental health services and social supports, and education budgets have been slashed while police funding continues to climb.”

Akela Lacy, The Intercept

"What's remarkable about the impasse on guns in the Senate is that -- as [NBA head coach Steve] Kerr noted -- massive majorities of the public, regardless of political party, support some new gun restrictions. A 2021 poll from Pew Research Center showed that 87% of Americans supported preventing people with mental illnesses from buying guns, while 81% backed making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks. Two-thirds of Americans supported a national gun database and banning high-capacity ammunition magazines. And yet.”

Chris Cillizza, CNN

From the Right

The right is skeptical of additional gun control, and instead calls for measures to address those with violent mental illness.

The right is skeptical of additional gun control, and instead calls for measures to address those with violent mental illness.

“The shooter legally purchased two firearms from a ‘local federal firearms licensee,’ meaning that he had to have passed a background check…

“A ban on ‘assault weapons’ would be useless, given that such bans are entirely based on the cosmetics of a firearm. Indeed, the shooter in Buffalo, New York, circumvented the state’s assault weapons ban by altering a legal rifle in violation of the law. A red flag law may have prevented this shooting, but it didn't do so in Buffalo or in Boulder, Colorado, last year…

“In 2015, the Washington Post fact-checked a claim by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) that ‘none of the major shootings that have occurred in this country over the last few months or years’ would have been prevented by popular gun control proposals. The Washington Post, hardly a pro-gun outlet, determined that Rubio was correct… Rubio’s claim remains true for shootings after 2015. The shooter in Parkland, Florida, was a walking red flag, but it was the school district and the sheriff’s department that failed, not a lack of gun laws.”

Zachary Faria, Washington Examiner

“Is it really that hard to identify these kids before they get violent? I’m not so sure that’s the case. Local police, school authorities and the FBI all knew about Nikolas Cruz before the shooting in Florida. Ramos was obviously also known to local police and was missing a lot of high school which means he was known to school authorities as well. But as with Cruz, it seems no one wanted to be responsible for taking action to really deal with him. Each authority was doing the minimum to deal with him on their own turf and no one was connecting the dots…

“Rather than try to remove the 2nd Amendment from the Constitution (which won’t happen) or have an armed squad of SRO/armed teachers protecting every school (which also won’t happen), I wish we could all agree to deal more aggressively with the disturbed kids who present the problem. If that means getting them mental health help, taking them out of school or removing guns from their homes I think a lot of people would support that so long as the focus is on the small number of people who represent the actual problem rather than the vast number of people who aren’t the problem.”

John Sexton, Hot Air

“Why are so many young men being driven to commit such heinous acts of violence? Why do they always seem to have no one in their lives paying attention to the signs of mental instability and aggression?…

“Why is it, for example, that 75% of the most recent school shooters, including the 18-year-old in Uvalde, were raised in broken homes without fathers? Indeed, this background is so common among perpetrators that criminologists Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi concluded after the Sandy Hook school shooting that the absence of fathers is one of the ‘most powerful predictors of crimes.’…

“Children need fathers, and they need to be a part of a community that will protect and care for them and, most importantly, hold them accountable — whether that’s a church, a soccer team, or a close-knit neighborhood. They need to be surrounded by adults who will teach them the importance of individual responsibility and who will step in when necessary. Too many children aren’t being raised in that kind of environment. We, as a society, are failing them.”

Kaylee McGhee White, Washington Examiner

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