There’s no easy solution to gun violence. The politicians who use euphemistic words to claim otherwise are exploiting a tragedy for political gain.
After Tuesday’s horrific school shooting, Democrat politicians rushed to demand “action.”
“When in God’s name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?” President Joe Biden said in a prime-time address. Then he added, “It’s time to turn this pain into action.”
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto echoed that sentiment. “We must take action and protect our communities,” she tweeted after the shooting.
Usually, when someone says they want to “take action,” they’re expected to follow it up with details. For instance, I think Nevada needs to take action to prevent the looming electricity shortages. What action? Repeal the renewable portfolio standard and build new natural gas or nuclear power plants.
You may disagree with that or think the costs outweigh the benefits. But that’s an actual proposal to deal with a current problem.
“Action” isn’t a plan. It’s a weasel word intended to imply simple solutions. The not-so-subtle implication from liberal politicians is that Republicans are too corrupt or immoral to do what is necessary to stop the slaughter of innocent children. Just vote for Democrats, and they’ll do what needs to be done. If you dare to ask for specifics, you must want children to die.
They rely on generalities, because their preferred gun control measures wouldn’t have prevented this tragedy. Officials said the shooter legally purchased his weapons. So much for expanded background checks. The 1994 assault weapons ban allowed the production of new semi-automatic rifles as long as they didn’t have certain secondary features such as a bayonet mount. It also didn’t apply to previously legal weapons.
You may support those proposals, but it’s fantasy to pretend they’re a cure-all. In February, a Justice Department study found more than 77 percent of mass shooters used handguns. It also found more than 80 percent of school shooters steal firearms from family members.
That doesn’t mean we must just give up or ignore security measures. It requires diving deeper. Widespread firearm ownership predates the founding of our country. The AR-15 was created in the late 1950s. But school shootings are a relatively recent occurrence, with the Columbine shooting happening in 1999.
What’s different now?
Start with family structure. It wasn’t a surprise to learn that the shooter wasn’t living with his father. The breakdown of the nuclear family has been a disaster for children, especially boys. Young men without a father are more likely to commit crimes, live in poverty and abuse drugs.
Publicity is another change. One study argued “extensive media coverage” of mass shooters is “a more powerful push toward violence than mental health status or even access to guns.”
Evil exists, and no politician, law or societal change can prevent every tragedy. But a discussion around these fundamental issues would be more helpful than undefined calls for “action.”