I had to take a deep breath before writing this column because here we are again.
Another mass shooting. I’m still reeling from the shooting in Buffalo on May 14 where 10 people who were grocery shopping were killed. Ten people who went into the store with 1,000 things on their minds they needed to do, and 10 people who never made it home that evening.
Not even a full two weeks later, another mass shooting has occurred. This time an 18-year-old killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The gunman also shot his grandmother before he left for the school.
Hurt. Anguish. Disgust. Anger. Fear. Confusion. Frustration.
Those are a few of my feelings.
How are we here continuously and why is nothing done about it?
Twenty-six people, mostly first graders, were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut. That happened in 2012. Seventeen students and staff were killed in a mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida, in 2018. In Texas, a state known to be gun friendly, 10 people were killed at Santa Fe High School in 2018; 23 at a Walmart in El Paso in 2019; and more than two dozen killed in Sutherland Springs in 2017.
Oh, and the National Rifle Association annual convention begins May 27 in the great state of Texas.
The gunman in this latest massacre recently turned 18. I guess as a birthday present to himself he legally purchased two AR-style rifles. He bought one on May 17; the other on May 20. He bought 375 rounds of ammunition on May 18. Where the heck are the red flags? Who needs two AR-style rifles within days of each other, and who needs 375 rounds of ammo?
Some politicians are already throwing this idea around that the best way to stop school shootings is to arm teachers. That just sounds so ridiculous. Are we arming teachers with AR-style rifles and enough ammo to take out a village? Are teachers supposed to come to work every day in tactical gear so they’re always ready? The gunmen now are coming protected and ready. Who’s paying for teachers to go to the range so they become expert marksmen and won’t kill innocent bystanders in a Wild Wild West-style shootout? Where do teachers keep these guns? In plain sight of the children or hidden away? If in plain sight, what happens if a child plays with the gun and injures or kills someone? Is the teacher liable? The school? Parents are liable when they leave guns unattended. If the gun is hidden, will the teacher have time to get to it before the gunman shoots him or her?
Instead of having this ridiculous conversation about arming everyone, why don’t we actually do something about guns? It’s beyond time.
Are we so callous and apathetic as Americans that we just move from one mass shooting to another only offering the cliched “thoughts and prayers” and having moments of silence? How about we demand some real action from our lawmakers.
As I’ve previously written, we’re more worried about banning books than we are guns. There’s something off about that to me. The push to ban abortions, books, critical race theory, sex education, etc. is under the guise of caring about children. Yet, we don’t care enough about children to stop mass shootings. I recall adults calling children from Parkland, Florida, crisis actors. Sounds really caring to me. If you aren’t demanding an end to school shootings, why are you demanding a ban on a book?
We also need to confront America’s love of violence. This is a violent country. I’m not talking about movies or video games. I’m talking about real-life violence that has real-life consequences. We exalt violence in the name of freedom as necessary. We revel in violence and laugh at it. We accept violence as part of life. Violence sure seems to be a part of human nature, but is it human nature to revere it so?
I’m not anti-gun, but guns are not more important to me than human life. I do not want to live in a country where a shootout at the OK Corral can happen at any time. Our politicians need to get some nerve to stand up to gun lobbyists, and we need to force them to — or force them out of office.