That there is a change in the
air is evident this time. Since the mass school shooting in Parkland,
Florida on February 14, there have been demonstrations by school kids,
their parents and others, confrontations of politicians including the
president, and a general feeling that enough is enough.
The most prominent opposition to gun control, the National Rifle Association (NRA) is not quite able to stir up its supporters this time. Its president, Wayne LaPierre, got only a muted response to his frequent line, "the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun."
Donald Trump's response to the crisis certainly takes that page from LaPierre's book; Mr. Trump wants to arm school teachers. In this 'Wild West' scenario, Trump's schools become a battlefield. Guns for teachers, if they actually agree to them, will be headline news. And forewarned, prospective shooters are more than likely to wear body armor (as a previous mass shooter did) to be protected from teachers' pistols. It also invites the terrible possibility some school teacher, disturbed of course, shoots up her own class.
No, Mr. Trump (and Wayne LaPierre) the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is to make sure he does not get one. Australia has already proven that proposition. After a mass shooting killed 35 people in Port Arthur, Tasmania, the country was in deep shock. The response was strict gun control including the mandatory buyback of existing firearms through which 650,000 weapons were destroyed. The facts speak for themselves: from 1978 to 1996, Australia had 13 mass shootings; since 1997, it has had none.
After Sandy Hook, where a gunman in 2012 killed 20 little children and 6 adults
at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, protests and outrage
led to attempts to pass laws in Congress. But the NRA lobby was much
too powerful and they were blocked.
If Australia's response stopped mass shootings, what about the U.S.? Since Sandy Hook there have been over 1600 mass shootings
-- a mass killing is defined as a single incident causing the death of
three or more persons. Moreover, these comprise less than 2 percent of
firearm deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 33,594 gun deaths in 2014 of which 263 were in a mass shooting.
at almost one a day, these mass shootings are so common as to mostly go
unreported unless the number of dead are high enough, or the incident
has community impact, or the perpetrator carries a whiff of terrorism
because of his faith.
Donald Trump's wet-noodle response, which he characterized as strong
and others might consider risible, will do next to nothing ... until
another mass shooting presses the replay button and the Kabuki dance is