Monday, February 26, 2018
Guns: the common denominator in mass school shootings
It's been almost two weeks since the school shooting in Parkland, FL. The national conversations about school safety and gun culture have remained front and center as debates and town hall meetings seek answers. Some people have speculated that "this time it's different," as the calls for legislative action have not abated, and the student voices have seemed to be more prevalent than in the past.
I don't know.
Regarding the role that access to guns plays in mass shootings would seem to me to be pretty indisputable. The general consensus of research is that areas that have more guns simply have more shootings. The international comparisons are certainly worth investigating and discussing when seeking solutions to our problem and making policy decisions. Having grown up in an area where gun ownership was not at all unusual, I've had plenty of time to discuss (and at times argue about) whether "guns are the problem." I certainly think they are a significant part of the issue, but I am not the type of person that insistent on banning weapons. I know where I live, and I know the challenges that position poses. That said, I'm also not one to accept that the status quo that gun violence and mass shootings are the new normal that can't change. It can.
I will admit that I simply do not understand the resistance to licensing and registration for guns and ammunition - other than the (IMO) ridiculously radical argument that private citizens must maintain arms to prevent tyranny. Obviously, in the historical and theoretical sense, there would seem to be some logic and precedent for the conspiracy-minded to believe that a government registry could be used to confiscate weapons and oppress people. But I just don't think rational, educated American citizens should buy into such fringe thinking. Of course, I know my wording on that will certainly alienate some rational, educated friends and acquaintances, but I'm not sure how else to frame it. They might ridicule how naive I am about freedom, but I offer equal ridicule how naive they are about gun violence. Regulating guns like we do cars seems a fair compromise, and I'm holding out hope that younger generations will eventually come around to that.
And then there's a few pro-gun solutions to mass shootings that I simply don't ever expect to understand, among them is arming teachers. Here in Colorado, one of our legislators, Republican representative Kevin Neville, introduced his annual bill to allow "conceal and carry" of weapons on school campuses. Thankfully it was defeated in committee. Neville argues that schools are targets of mass shooters precisely because they are "gun free zones." There is no evidence of this argument, and it dismisses the obvious reason kids shoot up their schools - they have an emotional connection to the school which is linked to their rage.
So, anyway, those are some thoughts as the nation seeks answers. I don't see any yet.