The deaths of children in schools at the hands of deranged shooters is the most disturbing part of life in modern America. Our inability to act to prevent future deaths is mind numbing. The fact that we can’t, or won’t, take measures to protect our offspring, the literal future of the country, shows a broken and dysfunctional political system.
As has been widely noted, the problem in this country is too many guns that are too easily accessible and a gun culture that fetishizes weapons. The vast majority of the country believes that we need to take reasonable measures to restrict access to guns, especially assault weapons. Regardless, nothing ever happens and I doubt it will this time.
Before the bodies of the Uvalde victims were even cold, conservatives and Republicans were putting out statements proclaiming their opposition to any measure to curb access to guns. Just hours after the shooting, Sen. Thom Tillis told reporters that restricting access to guns was not part of the solution and bashed red flag laws design to keep guns out of the hands of unstable or dangerous people, saying they constitute “overreach.” He offered no solution to the problem and has, so far, offered no legislation in the wake of other mass shootings that have occurred during his political career.
And Tillis isn’t the only one. Texas Senator Ted Cruz made sure to voice his opposition to any gun control measures despite the deaths of his young constituents. Conservatives on Twitter made the argument that any gun control measures violate Second Amendment rights. That’s not true, but seems to be the GOP talking point of the day.
We have strong evidence that banning assault weapons works and is not unconstitutional. They were banned for a decade from 1994 to 2004. A comprehensive study showed that, “Compared with the 10-year period before the ban, the number of gun massacres during the ban period fell by 37 percent, and the number of people dying from gun massacres fell by 43 percent. But after the ban lapsed in 2004, the numbers shot up again — an astonishing 183 percent increase in massacres and a 239 percent increase in massacre deaths.”
I’m not even for banning them. I just think they should be highly regulated, but that’s not the point. Reducing access to guns saves lives and can be done without unduly restricting people’s constitutional rights. The vast majority of Americans agree that some limitations on guns is needed. Republicans hiding behind the constitution are really just scared of angering their reactionary base.
In Texas, Beto O’Rourke caught the attention of the media and public when he confronted Governor Greg Abbott in the wake of the shooting. Abbott has bragged about making access to guns easier. O’Rourke became the voice of those angry at the inaction of our elected officials to take action despite shooting after shooting.
The party that calls itself pro-life is showing its hypocrisy. The best solution they’ve offered is to limit the number of entry doors into schools. It would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic. They’re clearly devoid of any serious ideas that would reduce mass shootings. While they are loath to admit it, they would rather let more children die than confront their paranoid, reactionary base. They are living in a stunning state of denial.