Monday, February 19, 2018

These School Shootings

Grimly read the news of the gunman, his legally procured weapon, and his victims at the South Florida high school. And the ensuing debate, the reaction of the country's leaders, and the continued obtuseness of Congress. Nothing much to talk about here except that same-old line of 'thoughts and prayers', since nothing has changed, and school shootings become a way of life.

How is gun violence not a problem in this first world nation? 'Thoughts and prayers' would be fairly useless when the Second Amendment is so steadfast, and the pro-gun lobby and the entire industry behind it are so vocal, connected and wealthy. The Washington Post ploughs through statistics to present us with what is presumably not fake news on the number of shootings. Yes, that number of '18 school shootings in 2018' needs a re-look.

The figures matter because gun-control activists use them as evidence in their fight for bans on assault weapons, stricter background checks and other legislation. Gun rights groups seize on the faults in the data to undermine those arguments and, similarly, present skewed figures of their own. 
~ 'No, there haven't been 18 school shootings in 2018. That number is flat wrong.' By John Woodrow Cox and Steven Rich, published in WaPo on February 15, 2018.

To live in a city where children are taught to stand on toilet bowls in locked cubicles to avoid shooters, or to yell and distract shooters because they're going to die anyway, and therefore should try to find ten extra seconds so that their other schoolmates could run further or give first responders that extra time to get on scene to disarm the shooter.

Shootings are horrific. Mass shootings chill the bone, but there seems to be nothing done beyond lots of talk, anger, angst, sadness, and fairly much nothing else as lawmakers cluck in sympathy. The killing of innocent children and teenagers moved no hearts, it seems. Gun control laws are so difficult to pass and enact in the various states. The Second Amendment is sacrosanct.

To live in a country where the average (and untrained in combat or emergency response) citizen carries guns. It's one thing to learn how to use firearms. I'm all for that. (Let's not talk about hunting here, that's another thread.) But it's quite another to be toting an assault rifle around every day like it's a phone or a watch. I recognize that most people who own and carry guns are fairly sane and controlled. But all you need is a few to snap and some bad eggs. How can the rights of the majority overlook the pain these exact rights are causing? Guns cause far more damage than fists or knives. It's absolutely tempting to use guns to solve arguments, innit? I'm very clear where my sentiments lie.

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