What happened in Texas this week is horrific. There were a number of mistakes made that allowed the incident to occur, but that will be sorted out later. It was a horrible event, and everyone’s heart goes out to the parents, grandparents and other family members impacted by the incident. The immediate calls for gun control are simply political grandstanding. Until we deal with mental illness among teenagers, we will not have a solution to gun violence.
On Wednesday, John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article that provides some historical context to what happened this week.
The article posted a list of school shootings where four or more people are killed since 2000. Here is the list:
A school shooting is a serious thing, but it doesn’t look as if it is a common occurrence.
The article continues:
So mass school shootings are rare, a total of 14 incidents in more than 22 years. In a nation of 320 million, many more people die from bee stings, lighting strikes, and so on; yet, for understandable reasons, school shootings command national attention. But their very rarity makes it hard to know what to do about them, especially since most school shooters expect to die, which makes them more or less impossible to deter. How do you prevent something that happens, in crude terms, once every 480 million man-years?
The “solutions” proposed by Democrats are laughable, obviously intended for political gain rather than practical benefit. Banning “assault rifles,” while likely unconstitutional, would do zero good. In close quarters, handguns are better than rifles, even short-barreled rifles like AR-15s. In the worst school shooting rampage so far, at Virginia Tech, the murderer used handguns. And when the ill-fated ban on “assault weapons” expired in 2004, the homicide rate went down, not up.
But there are things we can do. Would-be mass murderers may be crazy, but they aren’t stupid. They nearly always strike in gun-free zones, including schools, because they want to be sure they are the only one with a firearm. Gun-free zones are an idiotic concept and should be abolished. And if every public school in America fired a diversity consultant and hired an armed guard, they would be vastly safer. Who stands in the way of such practical reform? Mostly the teachers’ unions, which bitterly resist improvements in school security, thus selling out, as they consistently do, the interests of American children.
After noting that the number of school shootings increased after the Covid shutdowns, the article notes:
The only plausible explanation for this increase is that covid-related shutdowns of schools and businesses exacerbated mental health issues in vulnerable young people. There is a great deal of data confirming such an effect, and in the extreme case, shutdowns evidently have have led to a dramatic increase in “active shooters.” Let’s not make that foolish mistake again.
Those solutions aren’t perfect, but they are practical and would reduce the already microscopically-low incidence of mass school shootings.
This certainly represents a more rational approach than taking guns away from law-abiding citizens.