Debate on guns in US schools

The Parkland, Florida shooting last week has stirred up debate about access to firearms and gun violence, a major problem in the United States.

From the Gun Violence Archive 2018:

  • Total number of incidents 7,803
  • Number of deaths 2,138
  • Number of injuries 3,651
  • Deaths from mass shootings 34
  • Deaths from defensive use 224
  • Unintentional shooting 248

Number of deaths, past years:

  • 2014 – 12,556 (271 from mass shootings)
  • 2015 – 13,516 (333 from mass shootings)
  • 2016 – 15,094 (383 from mass shootings)
  • 2017 – 15,594 (346 from mass shootings)

Horrendous and rising alarmingly. Per population, that rate of deaths would equate to about 230 gun deaths per year in New Zealand.

Students across the country are protesting –  After Parkland, Students Across the U.S. Are Holding Protest Walkouts Over Gun Violence

In a wave of demonstrations reaching from Arizona to Maine, students at dozens of U.S. high schools walked out of class Wednesday to protest gun violence and honor the victims of last week’s deadly shooting in Florida.

The protests spread from school to school as students shared plans for their demonstrations over social media. Many lasted 17 minutes in honor of the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Hundreds of students from Maryland schools left class to rally at the U.S. Capitol. Hundreds more filed out of their schools in cities from Chicago to Pittsburgh to Austin, Texas, often at the lunch hour. Thousands walked out in Florida.

At the protest in Washington, students held a moment of silence in memory of those killed in Parkland and listened as the names of the dead were recited.

While some groups have worked to organize national demonstrations in the coming weeks, students say gatherings Wednesday were mostly impromptu and organized out of a sense of urgency to find solutions to gun violence.

Many of the protests were accompanied by chants of “Never again,” which has been a rallying cry since the Florida shooting.

However the voice of well organised resistance to gun control has also been heard: NRA’s Wayne LaPierre at CPAC: Gun Control Advocates Are Exploiting the Florida School Shooting Tragedy

Wayne LaPierre, the National Rifle Association’s Executive Vice President, told the Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday that politicians and the media are exploiting the Florida school shooting to expand gun control and ultimately abolish the second amendment, striking a defiant tone in his first public remarks since the mass shooting that killed 17 people and reignited the gun control debate in the U.S. to a fever pitch.

“As usual, the opportunists waited not one second to exploit tragedy for political gain. Chris Murphy, Nancy Pelosi, and more, cheered on by the national media, eager to blame the NRA and call for more government control.”

“They hate the NRA. The elites don’t care one wit about school children. If they truly cared, they would protect them.”

“It’s not a safety issue, it’s a political issue. They care more about control. Their goal is to eliminate the Second Amendment and our firearms freedoms so they can eliminate all individual freedoms.”

“They don’t care if their laws work or not. They just want get more laws to get more control over people. But the NRA, the NRA does care.”

He concluded this year’s speech by reiterating the advice he provided in the wake of Newtown five years ago: “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

Having less bad guys and less guns would help too.

President Trump has been criticised for proposing to arm thousands of teachers to protect schools. He ‘clarified’ his suggestion on Twitter:

I never said “give teachers guns” like was stated on Fake News @CNN & @NBC.

What I said was to look at the possibility of giving “concealed guns to gun adept teachers with military or special training experience – only the best. 20% of teachers, a lot, would now be able to immediately fire back if a savage sicko came to a school with bad intentions.

There are about 3.2 million public school teachers in the US. 20% of that is 640,000 teachers. That is a lot of people to arm and train to a high level on an ongoing basis.

An armed policeman heard the shooting at Parkland but never went inside. Miami Herald: “A school campus cop heard the gunfire and rushed to the building but never went inside — instead waiting outside for another four agonizing minutes as Cruz continued the slaughter.” He has since resigned. What should one person do in that situation? very difficult to know.

Highly trained teachers would also serve as a deterrent to the cowards that do this. Far more assets at much less cost than guards. A “gun free” school is a magnet for bad people. ATTACKS WOULD END!

History shows that a school shooting lasts, on average, 3 minutes. It takes police & first responders approximately 5 to 8 minutes to get to site of crime. Highly trained, gun adept, teachers/coaches would solve the problem instantly, before police arrive. GREAT DETERRENT!

If a potential “sicko shooter” knows that a school has a large number of very weapons talented teachers (and others) who will be instantly shooting, the sicko will NEVER attack that school. Cowards won’t go there…problem solved. Must be offensive, defense alone won’t work!

Armed police and offensive tactics have not solved a huge death toll from gun violence in the US.

And teachers don’t seem to be very keen.

The culture of gun ownership and gun violence in the US is so ingrained and staunchly defended it is hard to see any easy fixes, especially when the President proposes escalation.

And when the NRA is so financially influential in US politics.

When 17-year-old student Cameron Kasky took the microphone at CNN’s town hall on Wednesday night, he put Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio on the spot when he asked: Would you refuse to accept further campaign donations from the National Rifle Association?

After a moment, Rubio gave his answer: No, he wouldn’t.

Rubio has been on the receiving end of some of the largest financial support from the NRA over the years.
His hesitancy to distance himself from the organization shows how many in Congress have come to rely on the NRA’s largesse to help them remain in office — and their fear of crossing a group legendary for its ability to get its supporters out to vote.

According to federal election data compiled by the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics, eight lawmakers have been on the receiving end of at least $1 million in campaign contributions from the NRA over the courses of their careers, Rubio among them.