Again, a mass school shooting. Again, will nothing be done to try to stop the next one?
We could take steps. We could prevent the easy availability of assault weapons. We could have strong background checks. We could empower law enforcement so that when they know that a teenager poses a serious danger, they may legally take his gun away.
We could also acknowledge that the Second Amendment does not guarantee absolute access to guns. In fact, it took until 2008 for a conservative Supreme Court to declare that the Second Amendment applies to an individual right to bear arms. (Before that, courts interpreted the right as a collective one, pertaining to militias.) Yet even pro-gun Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote the 2008 opinion, stated that “the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever for whatever purpose.”
Meanwhile, the NRA, its bought politicians, and other gun extremists plow through the limitations. And that same group, after each mass shooting, delivers their same talking points: “No law will stop someone who is determined to kill from getting a gun.” “Teachers need to be armed.” “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” “It’s not a gun issue. It is only a mental health
Their talking points are deflections away from addressing gun reform. And they are not very good ones at that. Take,
“No law can stop someone from getting a gun.” Then why do we have any laws? After all, if individuals want heroin, they will get heroin. If laws do not stop crime, why should murder itself be illegal? People will always find a way to do it.
I hear the gun extremists’ counter-argument, “You can’t have too many gun regulations because that would prevent good guys,
like teachers, from owning them. And gun-toting teachers would stop the bad guys.” Can we stop the nonsense call for armed teachers? Firstly, the teacher could not just aim a handgun, which would have no chance against an AR-15—a mass
shooter weapon of choice. She would need a military-grade weapon locked, loaded and strapped over her shoulder at all times. Because if she left it around, the next mass shooting could be committed by a student who swiped his teacher’s gun.
But who cares about guns in classrooms because they claim, “guns are not the problem. It is all about people with mental illness who use them.” Well, if the most destructive weapons themselves are not a danger, why do we worry so much about nuclear weapons? We should just get Kim Jong-un into therapy. America should invade North Korea, for the purpose of getting its leader to a psychiatrist. After all, nukes don’t kill people. People kill people.
Everyone certainly acknowledges that mental illness exacerbates the problem, and that the means to understand and
combat it must be expanded. But in the meantime, isn’t it a whole lot easier to improve background checks and stop those who should not have arms from getting them? Isn’t that much lower-hanging fruit than immediately curing all the damage
that exist in the human soul?
These NRA-backed politicians need to drop the pretense that they care about mental health. If they did, they would not have rolled back an Obama-era regulation which disallowed people with mental health issues access to guns. They would not support cutting back mental health programs. Their newfound concern is meant to distract. And it is obvious.
I wish these anti-gun reform extremists would finally speak their truth out loud: They should acknowledge that their right
to guns, with no prohibitions, is so precious that they are willing to have a multitude of mass killings per year as a consequence. And that includes the slaughter of children. Because that is what they are saying without saying it. That
is why so many will never take action.
Again, a school shooting. Again, I fear nothing will change, other than the date of the next one. Perhaps with the outcry of the young generation, we will at last see a movement.