Sorry, it's not the Guns
Remember when they banned alcohol and people stopped consuming alcohol?
Remember when they banned drugs and then people stopped consuming those drugs?
Yeah, me neither.
Why are Guns Treated Differently?
When a drunk driver causes a car crash and kills the occupants (almost 32 per day, 12,000 per year) in the other vehicle, the immediate response from people isn't to go after beer and car manufacturers to hold them responsible or to look to increase the legal drinking age or ban certain kinds of alcohol.
In 2019, more than 200,000 teen drivers were injured and more than 1,500 died in car crashes. No calls to increase the driving age or restrict cars in any way.
According to the FBI, from 2015 to 2019 an average of 315 people each year were killed by a rifle. For context, 450 people were killed with a blunt object (clubs, hammers, etc.), 670 with hands and feet, and 1,550 with knives. I have yet to hear any calls to institute background checks and a waiting period to buy a hammer from Home Depot or a knife from Walmart.
I do not say any of this to downplay the murders at schools in Newtown, Parkland and, most recently, Uvalde. Those were horrific acts perpetrated by very sick individuals, but why are we only looking at the tools people used when it comes to shootings but not other kinds of deaths?
There are No Easy Answers
People want quick and easy solutions to problems but those don't exist here, though politicians are giving it their best. President Biden is pushing (again) for a number of changes to gun laws, including an "assault weapons" ban, magazine capacity ban, and others. There has been no evidence presented that any of his desired changes would have prevented any of these tragedies. And what about the secondary effects of passing these laws – creating felons out of tens of millions of lawful gun owners, virtually overnight? Apparently, they don't matter.
It's also more than a little hypocritical for politicians like Beto O'Rouke to argue that people who own AR-15's shouldn't be able to keep them while members of Congress and other employees of the government are protected by those same arms. "Protection for me, but not for thee," it would seem, something Charlie Rangel came right out and said a few years ago while he was a member of Congress.
I'm not going to get into the hypocrisy of people who only want the police to have guns while simultaneously supporting organizations like BLM that are looking to defund/restrict the police... most don't make the connection and even when you point it out they simply can't handle the cognitive dissonance. I'm also not going to get into the positive actions of gun owners, like the numerous times guns have been used to prevent murders, even though that is an argument in favor of reducing firearm regulations and increased gun ownership.
A Bridge Solution
We protect our President, members of Congress, other politicians, and all the buildings they occupy, with guns. When there were threats made against Supreme Court Justices recently after a draft decision was leaked the Justices received armed security. Many private businesses also employ armed security. But we protect our schools with a sign that says "Gun Free Zone," and when someone with a gun ignores that sign we call other people with guns who have no duty to protect then we say "sorry, that's the best we can do" and count the bodies? I find that unacceptable.
When terrorists used planes as weapons we didn't go after Boeing or Airbus, we hardened the planes and added armed security. You want to have less shootings at schools? The only way you're going to be able to do that is to make them less appealing targets. Make them harder to enter and employ someone whose job it is to protect that school in the event of an emergency.
There are about 100,000 K-12 schools in the USA. We are printing and sending $40B to Ukraine to support them in their (our) war with Russia. Perhaps rather than waste it on a war we shouldn't be involved in we could have given each school $400,000 to help them secure their buildings.
We need to determine why these kids are making these awful decisions, absolutely, but that seems to be something that will take much longer to determine, if we even can. In the meantime, it seems to me there's only 1 real path forward, if the goal truly is to reduce incidences of these events and not just to push a political agenda.