Thursday, February 15, 2018

The latest school shooting - What can I say?

As a survivor of gun violence, every one of these shootings is gut wrenching, infuriating and frustrating beyond reason. I cannot be certain but I think that Trump blamed this on abortion rights. At least that is how some received what he said. We all know that NRA support is dependent upon not blaming our insane proliferation of WMD.

A the National Review, Robert VerBruggen thinks that the solution is to arm teachers. Highly trained police officers miss most of the time under the stress of the situation. Meanwhile, mass shooters seem to be calm and highly focused on their “mission.” An armed teacher with a pistol is likely to a) kill more innocents kids and; b) get killed himself by an assassin with an AR15. Robert VerBruggen claims to be a gamer. He needs to finally grow up.

Meanwhile GOP legislators are doing the NRA tango with the usual nonsense about “now is not the time for gun control” and more calls for turning our schools into armed camps.

The common elements of mass shootings seem to be impaired mental health and an AR15 assault rifle, usually purchased legally.

The current shooter was literally screaming his intent to be a “professional school shooter.” It seems that everyone knew that he has serious mental health issues. While he had some treatment, his behavior caused him to be kicked out of school. Teachers found him so terrifying that he was not permitted to carry a backpack in school. His Instagram page was full of photos of dead animals and weapons.

So the first three questions that we should be asking ourselves are:
  1. How did this kid fall through the cracks and not receive comprehensive mental health care?
  2. How was he able to purchase a firearm?
  3. What should the school have done to make sure that he received care and was prevented from owning guns?
As for the weaponry, while I think that a ban on assault weapons makes perfect sense it doesn't solve the problem. We have a cultural problem is unique to the United States. French, German and English kids don't seem to be shooting up their schools.

The National Rifle Association has made gun ownership a symbol of defiance — putting the “elites” in their place. People on the right have also been convinced that gun safety is an insult to the Constitution and that massive gun ownership is necessary to keep government in check. It is part of a belief system that is not supported by any evidence. In fact, the proponents of those theories usually constitute the kind of government that needs to be restrained.

<sermon>The NRA has bought and paid for the Republican Party. Until we take — and keep — Republicans out of power we will not make common sense laws that make us truly safer. I like to think that there are more of us than them. They have made it more difficult for some of us to vote but those impediments are not insurmountable. We just need to be more dedicated than they are at pulling levers every November. Until we do it nothing is going to change.</sermon>

In about ten years, when all appeals are exhausted, the shooter is probably going to get a needle. As a country, what are we going to look like in ten years? Will anything have changed? Will we be even more used to school shootings? How many more kids have to die before we sign a treaty with ourselves for arms control? It has been more than five years since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and, if anything, we have regressed. We are becoming an uncivil society.

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