In 1996 there was a mass shooting in Port Arthur, Australia. 35 people killed, 23 wounded. The Australian government responded with strict gun regulation and a $300 million gun buy back. The chances of being killed by a gun dropped 72%.
Also in 1996, there was a Primary School shooting in Dunblane, Scotland. 15 students and 1 teacher dead, 15 others injured. The UK government introduced a buy back scheme and banned private ownership of handguns. There are now 50-60 gun deaths per year, in a population of 56 million. The chance of being killed by a gun in the UK is now literally one in a million.
In Canada, After the Ecole Polytechnique massacre in 1989, which killed 14 woman, Canada implemented stricter background checks, safety training and harsher punishments for gun crime. After the Portapique Shooting on 2020 left 22 people dead, they banned 1500 models of assault rifle and limited how destructive the bullets could be.
In the US, in 1999 15 people were killed in the Shooting at Columbine High School and the Government….
After the Virginia Tech shooting killed 33 people, lawmakers…..
The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, where 20 small children and 7 adults were killed, led to a public outcry which achieved….
The Shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018, 17 dead, 17 wounded, has created a generation of Gun Control activists, and at the government level…..
And Just last week, Robb Elementary school in Uvalde Texas, 22 dead, 18 injured. I have lost hope of the Government doing anything.
The Pro Gun Republicans are trying to offer excuses (It’s not the gun’s fault) and increasingly ridiculous solutions. Ted Cruz has suggested that schools should only have 1 door and kids should be searched on the way in. Given the average high school has around 1000 students, by the time they get them all into the classrooms it will be time to go home. Not a lot of time for lessons, but that’s ok because the Republicans also don’t want to fund education (A rant for another day). I also suspect he hasn’t consulted a Fire Marshall about the ‘One Door’ policy.
Some actually want to put guns in the schools. Former EDUCATION Secretary Betsy DeVos explained that in some rural schools, like in Wapiti Wyoming, guns were necessary to defend against bears coming on the school grounds. (The Wapiti school responded to this, confirming bears were a problem, but they just built a fence, it was fine).
The rhetoric used to be “Guns don’t kill people, People Kill people.” The flaw I always saw in that, the flaw more and more people have come to see, is that People with Guns Kill people. If they didn’t have a gun, it would be harder to kill people. You can run away from a killer with a knife; you can’t outrun a bullet. A killer with a Machete can get one victim at a time; A killer with an assault rifle can kill dozens in minutes, and their victims are random people who just happened to be there.
The Current rhetoric is “Only a good guy with a gun can stop a Bad guy with a Gun”. So they want to put ex-military and ex-cops in schools to take out the shooters when they come. Given the number of police shooting innocent people in the states, this is a dangerous idea. I doubt their judgement has improved with retirement. And schools are a large warren of corridors; how long will it take the Rambo-wannabe to find the shooter, and how many students will die in the meantime. Another trap in the Good guy/Bad guy argument is each man will assume the other person with a gun IS the bad guy. How can you tell intent, just by looking.
It is amazing to watch the level of yoga the Republicans have to do to twist away from the fact that Guns are the problem. They toss out statements that it’s a mental health problem, but they don’t go too deeply into that argument in case someone asks them to fund Mental Healthcare.
And even then their argument doesn’t hold up. In Jail, they take away your shoes and belt so you can’t use them to kill yourself. But it’s too much to prevent the mentally ill from getting guns. That’s a violation of their freedoms and their 2nd Amendment rights.
Oh, the 2nd Amendment, that piece of the Constitution that gun owners cling to like a child with a blankie, in spite of most of them never having read it.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Most Gun owners, are not members of any sort of militia (and you really need to keep an eye on the ones who are in a militia). The security of the colony is no longer at risk. The US Government has impoverished and displaced the Native American Tribes well beyond the point of them being a threat (another rant for another day). The British Empire is no more, and Great Britain itself has it’s own problems and doesn’t want you back. So who are you defending against?
Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand have all shown that strict Gun Controls work. Yes, tragedies still happen, people will still find ways around the laws, but that cannot be an excuse to to not try. 267 mass shooting in the US in 2022 and we’re not even halfway through the year. Look around the world, That doesn’t happen anywhere else, and when it does, they take action.
In other countries, schools have fire drills, so the students can react calmly in the unlikely event of a fire. In the US, they have Lockdown Drills, so the students know what to do if a gunman enters the building. There’s no sense of “It would never happen here.” they expect it. When asked if their school had had a shooting incident, a Student replied “Not yet.” It remains one of the most chilling things I’ve ever heard.
Sadly, Republican Politicians are going a different way. Addressing the NRA Convention, Donald Trump said “The existence of evil in our world is not a reason to disarm law-abiding citizens. The existence of evil is one of the very best reasons to arm law-abiding citizens.” His solution to Gun Crime is more guns. He wants to put out the fire by adding more fire.
And let’s consider the concept of Evil. It exists in all of us. Can you look at someone and know their intentions, their struggles. We all hide a part of ourselves, even from ourselves. And we all have a breaking point. I’m in menopause, and I work in retail. It’s a good thing I don’t have access to firearms, and I’m extremely glad my customers don’t either.
It is long past time for the US to get to grips with it’s gun problem. Maybe Mental Health is the issue, but you have to stop making it so easy for them to fulfil their violent impulses. The 2nd amendment is outdated and no longer relevant to modern America. It won’t be easy. The child has been allowed to cling to the Blankie too long and there will be tantrums at giving it up. It will be painful, and there will be outcries about restricting gun ownership. But there will also be support, from anyone who has lost someone to gun violence, or who knows someone who lost someone, or who watches the news each night and weeps for total strangers.
And in a few years, there will be a lot more living children than there will be without action.