Because of bullets shot from an AR-15 by an 18-year-old child.
If there had been no gun, there would have been vastly fewer deaths, even if the perpetrator had wielded some other type of weapon.
Let’s be absolutely clear. No gun, vastly fewer or no deaths.
The gun lobby and their Republican minions want no part of that view. They know their position looks untenable, so after any shooting they immediately begin directing attention away from the obvious statement, one worth repeating: No gun, vastly fewer or no deaths.
They’re good at it, this diversionary technique. After all, they’ve had plenty of practice. They’ve created many diversions, all designed to take our minds off the real problem.
Of them all, one—and only one— has merit. Improvement of mental health aid. This because it is needed to deal with so many of the problems that trouble us, only one of which is guns. Of course, the suggestion isn’t made to actually help people. Remember, it’s a diversion. And many of the politicians championing the argument control states with the worst mental health support in the country.
All other diversions offer nothing helpful. A few are:
· The “I am a sympathetic and understanding person who deeply feels the despondency of the survivors” farce. These people send “thoughts and prayers,” a meaningless gesture meant to deflect from the fact they have done nothing to alleviate the real problem.
· The morally superior stance. “We should not politicize this issue,” making sure we know that anyone who attempts to make changes in gun laws is acting with partisan goals and is ignoring the feelings of the suffering. This from the most politically divisive party I have ever observed personally.
· The “practical” solution: Hardening of schools. I’m not sure what this means, but feel certain it turns schools into fortresses, the perfect comforting learning environment.
· The conspiracy theories. Unbelievable claims that mass shootings never occur, and victims seen on television are actors. Or the shootings are the result of a liberal plot against the gun lobby with leftists causing the deaths. This last was voiced at the NRA convention held in Texas days after what was at the time the latest mass shooting (several others have occurred in the following days). It’s frightening people can believe such nonsense.
· Offer state aid to the affected families, such as paying for funerals. But only for the funerals of the newsworthy event victims, not the funerals of the tens of thousands of others killed every year by guns.
Then there are all the explanations of why guns are not the nemesis, but rather are essential to prevent future mass shootings, as if that has been the slightest bit effective in the past.
· Arm teachers. Even though most teachers don’t want to carry guns, will receive only minimal training, and didn’t really sign on for the task.
· The NRA explanation number 1: “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” As if the number of deaths would be the same if guns weren’t available.
· Look elsewhere to see why nothing should be done. Chicago and New York City, for example, have strict gun laws and also large gun related deaths. Of course, the problem in those cities is anyone can bring in a firearm from outside the city. And what kind of an argument is that, anyway? We should give up because things are bad elsewhere?
· The NRA mantra number 2: “Only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun.” That’s worked out well, hasn’t it, with guns currently everywhere and mass shootings on the rise? Like the police standing outside a classroom while the shooter mows down kids inside?
· The Second Amendment guarantees our right to have guns. Does it give us the right to purchase a long range missile?
Every one of these arguments serves only a single purpose. To make us forget the real problem. They are nothing but diversions ranging from the comforting thoughts and prayers through the frightening arming of teachers and up to the truly bizarre conspiracy theories.
Creating these excuses carefully honed over mass shooting after mass shooting must be difficult because it’s hard to convince people that something horrible will be all right if we only do other things that ignore the real problem. They keep at it because they have been successful, with many buying into them.
It’s difficult to see why the diversions are so effective, because this problem is truly simple. The need for every one of them, except for better mental health aid, disappears if one simple fact were true.
If there had not been a gun readily available in the first place.
Go through all of them and realize what happens to them if there is not a gun around.
I don’t believe we’ll ever get to the point in this country that saner nations have achieved where guns are for the most part outlawed.
But that doesn’t mean we cannot improve the situation. Like raising age limits for purchasing, demanding meaningful background checks and training, creating safe storage requirements, curtailing the purchase of assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.
These are changes the majority of our citizens, including gun owners and members of every political party, endorse.
But those in power refuse to pass the required laws. Because they covet the dollars the NRA pours into their reelection campaigns more than they care about the lives of their citizens. Because they are too cowardly to stand up to that powerful lobby and their party leaders. Because they are unwilling to put their jobs on the line to do what is right. And because they know they have fooled their constituents who will return them to office term after term no matter what.
So every legislator and governor, and there are some in every party, who does not take action has blood on his or her hands. More blood every time a gun takes a life, either by a single homicide or a mass shooting.
They can send all the thoughts and prayers and offer all the other diversionary arguments they want, but it doesn’t alter the fact that every preventable death from guns that occurs will be etched on their record for eternity.
This means you, Governor Abbott. And you, Governor DeSantis. And you, Senators Cruz, Comyn, Scott, and Rubio. And all of you who promote the gun culture.