Four days ago seventeen people were shot to death at a Florida high school, fourteen students and three staff.
It infuriates me that there's any debate about what needs to be done: ban the AR-15 and other assault rifles along with high capacity magazines, and strengthen background checks for all gun purchasers.
More could be done, of course. But this is a good place to start. The surviving students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School understand this. They're pressing hard for gun control legislation.
Shut up and listen!
That’s the message seething students have for President Trump and other gun-friendly lawmakers, demanding they stop making excuses and immediately pass reforms in the aftermath of the Florida bloodshed — or face being voted out of office.
What's deeply irritating is that many conservatives who oppose gun control legislation that would save many lives claim to be in favor of a "culture of life" because they oppose abortion.
This is total B.S.
Anyone who doesn't do everything in their power to stop the snuffing out of young lives has zero credibility on the culture of life front.
And we know what needs to be done, because other countries that have done that thing have a much lower rate of school shootings.
Between 2000 and 2010 there were 57 incidents of school violence in 36 countries. The United States, with about 300 million people, accounted for about half of those incidents, 28.
The other half of the incidents were in 35 countries that have 3.8 billion people, and thirteen of those countries have never had a school massacre. What makes the United States so special, in a very bad way?
We have way more guns than those other countries. They have mentally disturbed people, just as we do. But guns are the problem, not people. Other countries have much stronger gun ownership laws, so they have many fewer gun deaths.
Violence in U.S. schools is much more likely be carried out using a gun, too. As Quartz explained about the study:
In the vast majority of U.S. killings, perpetrators used guns. By comparison, China — with the second-greatest number of incidents — saw 10 mass killings, but none involving firearms. Germany saw three mass shootings; Finland saw two. Thirteen other countries each saw one incident with at least one person being wounded or killed; in the rest nobody was reported as hurt.
There's evidence, too, that school violence is declining in other places. As my colleague explained this morning, “in Europe, there hasn't been a major high-casualty gun attack on a campus in almost a decade.”
That's because Americans have a disproportionate number of guns (at least 300 million, about one per person), especially handguns and semiautomatic weapons. (A bullet from an AR-15 rifle, which the alleged shooter used in the Florida attack Wednesday, can penetrate a steel helmet from five hundred yards.)
Experts say it is time to bring back the assault weapons ban. Gun massacres (6+ deaths) were much reduced in 1994-2004 when assault rifles were banned, compared to the decades before and after.
The average life expectancy at birth for both sexes is 79 years. Premature deaths at any age are bad. When teenagers die in a school shooting, it is horrific. Those fourteen students who were shot to death by an AR-15 rifle started Valentine's Day feeling that a long life lay before them.
By the end of the school day they had no life left. They were dead, victims of a rabid gun culture in this country that doesn't give a crap about how many people die from guns, so long as gun nuts can have unfettered access to their beloved weapons of mass destruction.
I'm fed up with useless thoughts and prayers after every mass shooting. I'm proud of the students who are vowing to vote out any politician who doesn't support strong gun control legislation.
No more excuses. If a politician isn't willing to get on board the gun control train, hopefully they will be kicked off at the next election. Most Americans in both parties support gun restrictions. It's time for this silent majority to speak super loudly.
In 2007 the Virginia Tech shooter killed 32 people and wounded 17 with two semi-auto pistols. No need for an AR-15 to kill a lot of people. If Roy Rogers lost his mind he could have killed 12 people with his two six shooters before reloading.
This is a vexing problem.
Posted by: tuscon | February 18, 2018 at 11:30 PM
*** No need for an AR-15 to kill a lot of people ***
Bombs and speeding vehicles can kill too... but since a '96 ban on assault rifles in Australia, they haven't had a repeat tragedy.
Listen to comedian Jim Jeffries' take:
P.S. It's ok... I'm pretty sure the "thoughts and prayers" mourning period
Posted by: Dungeness | February 19, 2018 at 03:42 PM
Please support Democrat Mike Ellison who is running for State Representative in District 19 against Republican Denyc Boles this November. She couldn't even vote in favor of closing the "boyfriend loophole" to take guns away from abusive boyfriends the other day in the Legislature. That's what kind of a 2nd Amendment extremist she is. She's got to go.
Posted by: Jim Scheppke | February 19, 2018 at 06:40 PM
First of all, I am not a gun enthusiast. I don't like 'em. Too noisy. That said, I don't think you are going to get Americans to give up guns without an ugly fight, even if only the semi-autos. This country is already divided enough without adding that to the mix. Stricter gun laws will help some but guns will still be available legally and illegally. Closer surveillance of psychos will help but some will slip by despite obvious signs like the Florida demon displayed. It will help if schools have armed people on campus (besides lunatic students) like security guards or teachers with the inclination and training to do so, but the maniac might just shoot them first to get them out of the way. This is a tough problem. There is a priority need to find out why there is so much mental illness that drives people to this kind of madness and try to fix it.
Posted by: tucson | February 19, 2018 at 09:52 PM
I totally agree with you Mr.Hines. Ban all assault rifles and deep background checks.
I also wish more people would look into the European Firearms Directive.
More, much more could be done in this country. I also wish the NRA and other pro-gun organizations would be prohibited from being able to lobby Congress and influence them with Millions of $$$. Just part of my wish list.
I also agree wholeheartedly that the pro-life religious groups and duplicitous and doing more harm than good.
Posted by: Eric Swenson | February 21, 2018 at 03:53 PM