Are We Close to a Strategy to Mitigate School Shootings?

Local Police Respond to Uvalde Shooting
Local Police Respond to Uvalde Shooting

This is a long post, so grab a cup of coffee.  But if you stick with me, you may learn a few important things.

Since my last post…

“You’ll Blow Your Lungs Out, Kid!”, posted May 31st, about the Biden administration’s moronic but predictable anti-gun response to the tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Texas

… I’ve received several critical replies wondering what restrictions and limitations to my 2nd Amendment rights I, personally, would tolerate that might lead to a reduction in school shootings.  I’ll provide my thoughts on that at the end of this e-mail, but first, let’s get an idea of the nature of school shootings.

From this point forward I’m going to put quotation marks around the term “school shootings” because I’m going to define those incidents based on my research, and I want to make it clear that I’ll be referring specifically to that researched data.

So… facts, facts, I needed facts for my research.  When we decide based on emotion, based on what the media presents to us, based on the heart-wrenching images we see on our TV screens, or worst of all, based on what our elected leaders tell us, we are bound to err.

For that research, I turned to Wikipedia, as I often do.  Yeah, yeah, I know that Wikipedia isn’t necessarily a “trusted source”, and they certainly have a Liberal bent.  But over the years I’ve found it to be a good place to start.  And their “list” articles are usually pretty comprehensive, as long as you take a hard look at what’s being presented behind the “list” in question.

I knew that if I found a list of “school shootings” on Wikipedia it would list everything that came even remotely close.  Sure enough, I quickly found a list of all “school shootings” in the United States in the 21st century.

AN INVESTIGATION OF SCHOOL SHOOTINGS:

This particular Wikipedia resource lists 371 “school shootings” since 2000.  At first glance that looks like an incredible number!  A horrifying number, in fact.  That averages more than 16 incidents per year!

But digging deeper, my suspicions were confirmed.  Wikipedia listed many shootings that didn’t actually occur on school grounds at all, but were instead only near school grounds, on streets in front of schools, for example, or drive-by shootings on the side streets around schools.

Also, this Wikipedia article lists a great many incidents in which only one or two persons were killed or wounded, and a few in which no one was hurt at all and are on the list simply because a firearm was discharged on (or near) a school.

Do these incidents really qualify?  After all, the controversy here doesn’t really involve a high school drug dealer who shoots his rival while they happen to be at school.

Further, many – in fact, most – of these ‘shootings’ were related to gang and/or drug activity, and another large group seems to have been driven by inner-city sports rivalries, rather than attacks directly focused on children, as we’ve recently seen in Uvalde, Texas.

MASS SCHOOL SHOOTINGS:

So, how many of these 371 incidents were actually “mass school shootings” in the category of Sandy Hook or Stoneman Douglas?  Shootings of the sort that make national news, horrify the nation, capture our senses for days or weeks, and rise to the level that our very Constitutional rights may come into question?

Well, I think that brings up the question of what a “mass school shooting” actually is.  Although there’s no universally accepted definition of the term “mass shooting”, a general consensus seems to be “a minimum of three (some definitions say four) victims (either wounded or killed) by gun violence in a ‘short period of time'”.

In Wikipedia’s defense, this list was “school shootings” and not “mass school shootings”.  But aren’t we really talking about “mass school shootings” here?

Even if you go ahead and count all those gang-related incidents and “near school” shootings, and only filter those 371 incidents by the criteria of those that resulted in the death of two or more persons (rather than the larger number of 3 or 4 mentioned earlier) including the shooter, you come up with only 52 actual “school shootings”:

  • 17 from 2000 to 2009
  • 31 from 2010 to 2019, and
  • 4 from 2020 to the present

Running the numbers shows me that only 14% of the “school shootings” on this Wikipedia list actually meet the threshold stated above.  Which, of course, means that 86% do not.  This’s why, while Wikipedia may be a good place to start, you really have to dig into the data you’re presented with to get to the truth.

MY CONCLUSIONS FROM THIS DATA:

So, here are the relevant points I was able to glean from this information after spending several hours referencing the Wikipedia resource and cross-referencing against a great many other sources online:

1. Nearly all – NEARLY ALL – of the 371 incidents listed were committed with handguns; the next most common weapons were shotguns, and a few bolt-action hunting rifles… not “assault weapons”,

2. Well more than half of those 371 incidents were related to gang and/or drug activity and were not attacks against school children at all,

3. Several occurred on large college or university campuses and were committed by adults committing violence against other adults – either students or facility – and again not against school children, and

4. Only four (4) of these shootings involved those dreaded “assault weapons” … the “AR-15” or the “AK-47” style assault rifle:

  • The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, in which 27 were killed
  • The Santa Monica College shooting in 2013, in which 6 were killed
  • The Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018, in which 17 were killed, and
  • The Robb Elementary School shooting just a few days ago, in which 22 were killed

I hope this helps to put this so-called “epidemic of mass school shootings” into perspective.  52 shootings in the past 20+ years is still a lot… too many.  But only four involved “assault rifles”.

I realize that there are many similar lists, studies, and sources of information.  If you have one that presents significantly different statistics than I’ve cited here, or if you have a different analysis of this or other information, please feel free to send it.

THE DEMOCRAT’S PLAN:

OK, so that’s an overview of what are commonly thought of as “school shootings”, including a discussion of “mass school shootings”.  Now let’s take a look at what the Democratic National Committee (DNC) thinks would be good steps toward addressing this growing problem.

On the 2nd of June the DNC-controlled House Judiciary Committee passed, in a party-line vote of 25 to 19, a package of 8 separate bills all being touted as “common-sense gun control”, which they’re referring to collectively as the “Protecting Our Kids Act” (HR 7910).  That sounds pretty good, right?  Protect our kids.  That’s a great name.  Probably ranked high on some focus group.  One would think that’s probably chock full of “common-sense gun control” that “protects our kids”… right?  Gee, if you voted against a bill called the “Protecting Our Kids Act” that’d mean you probably didn’t think much of our kids!

A vote from the full House is expected as soon as next week which will probably see the bill pass to the Senate since the DNC controls the House, and there are a few Republicans that will probably go along with this.  However, it’s unlikely to pass the Senate due to the requirement for 60 votes there, unless the DNC is willing to kill the filibuster, and even then, they may not be able to muster a full 50 votes on this controversial issue.

So far, only one of the 8 bills (the first listed below – the “Raise the Age Act”) has any sort of Republican support.

Here are separate bills that comprise this omnibus package…

1. The Raise the Age Act (HR 3015) raises the age for the purchase of an “assault rifle” to 21. Of course, that brings up the question of exactly what an “assault rifle” is, but that’s a topic for another day.  This bill includes exceptions for members of the armed forces and full-time employees of the U.S. government who are authorized to carry firearms.  This bill has two Republican co-sponsors; Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.

2. The Prevent Gun Trafficking Act (HR 2080) establishes a new federal penalty for gun trafficking, which could range from a fine to up to 10 years in prison. The bill also allows for the seizure of firearms and ammunition involved in the offense.  Sounds “common sense-y” enough, but this HR has no Republican co-sponsors, which I find suspicious.  That’s usually an indicator to me that there’s probably some squirrely fine print language in the bill.

3. The Untraceable Firearms Act (HR 3088) is intended to curb so-called “ghost guns”, which are homemade guns that lack a serial number, such as those manufactured in part using a 3D printer, for example, making it difficult for law enforcement to trace the owner of the weapon if it’s found at a crime scene.  But this law would also make it a felony for anyone to make a handmade “craft” firearm, which is actually “a thing” here in America.  No Republican co-sponsors.

4. Ethan’s Law (HR 748) regulates the storage of firearms, particularly in homes with children, or if a resident there is ineligible to possess a firearm, such as a previously convicted felon.  But I have no children or felons living in my home.  Will I be required to store my firearms in accordance with this bill?  What if a felon visits my home?  Will I be held accountable?  Lots of grey areas with this bill.  Colorado just passed a law of this type, but it’s well written and I don’t have much problem with it.  No Republican co-sponsors.

5. The Safe Guns, Safe Kids Act (HR 6370) also addresses safe storage and is pretty much the same as HR 748, above… pick one or the other… we don’t need two!

6. The Kimberly Vaughan Firearm Safety Storage Act (HR 130) is the same as the previous TWO.  Again, pick one!

7. Closing the Bump Stock Loophole Act (HR 5427) would classify bump stocks as machine guns and require them to be registered under the National Firearms Act.  A bump stock allows “a semiautomatic firearm to shoot more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger by harnessing the recoil energy of the semiautomatic firearm to which it is affixed so that the trigger resets and continues firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter,” according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  No Republican co-sponsors.

8. The Keep Americans Safe Act (HR 2510) limits magazine capacity to 10 rounds.  This has got to be the DNCs ‘throw away’ bill for this effort.  The GOP will never sign on for this, nor should they.  No Republican co-sponsors.

Later that same day President Biden reiterated all of those items, and added:

  • A call for a new “assault weapons ban”, and
  • A National “Red Flag” law (a gun control law that permits police or family members to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves)

… and went further to emotionally demand repealing immunity from lawsuits for gun manufacturers!

The President called all of these steps toward “rational, common-sense gun control”.  But he didn’t mention any plan to address the “hardening” of schools.  In fact, earlier that same day, Biden’s press secretary told the White House Press Corps that “the President wasn’t interested in hardening schools”.

So that’s where the DNC is on this problem.  As always, it’s all about the guns, and they have no interest in hardening our schools or providing improved mental health services to our children.

WILL THESE PROPOSED NEW LAWS WORK?

So, on to the next question; will these five new laws proposed by the DNC-controlled House actually “protect our kids”, as the name of the Act promises?  Let’s review.

Looking at the DNC House plan, which is the only thing moving forward right now, and discounting President Biden’s gibberish from his speech, because none of that is going anywhere.  And if you throw out the House’s last act about limiting magazine capacity to 10 rounds entirely as a non-starter.  And chuck those two duplicate acts about “safe storage” and just keep one, we’re really only talking about 5 new bills.

1. Raise the age to buy an assault rifle to 21; this would have prevented at least the Robb Elementary School shooter from purchasing the two AR-15s he bought right before the shooting.  The verdict is still out as to how many of this monster’s victims were actually killed with his ARs (or even if he had both of those rifles with him at the time) and which were killed with the pistol he also allegedly had.  For whatever reason, reliable information about this particular shooting is being withheld.  And overall, “assault rifles” (ARs and AKs) are rarely used in “school shootings” as I note above.  But these weapons are occasionally used in “school shootings”, and may be used in the future, so I’m calling this 1 for 1.

2. Strengthen gun trafficking laws; nothing in here to protect school kids.  Nearly ALL of these “school shootings” were committed with legal firearms.  So, 1 for 2.

3. Ban “ghost guns”; nothing in here to protect kids either – at least not to date.  There’s not a single recorded instance of a “ghost gun” being used in any “school shooting”.  But I suppose as 3D printers become more commonplace the potential grows.  And kids will be at the forefront of that technology, as they always are.  So, I’ll concede that one.  2 for 3.

4. Establish “safe storage” laws; many of the “school shootings” on that Wikipedia list were committed with firearms taken from parents or other relatives, so 3 for 4.

5. Ban “bump stocks”; again, no known connection to “school shootings” whatsoever.  So now we’re 3 for 5.

And 3 for 5 is 60%.  Only 60% of the concepts being put forth by the DNC come anywhere near actually addressing the problem of “school shootings”.  The rest are simply anti-gun “agenda items” plucked out of the Liberal punchbowl.

THE REPUBLICAN’S PLAN:

OK.  Now let’s take a look at what the Republicans are rooting for.  In addition to being at least initially willing to engage in a discussion of new gun control laws, the GOP seeks a full-spectrum approach to “school shootings” that includes…

  • Money to “harden” our schools with more School Resource Officers and physical security measures,
  • Money to expand state, local and school mental health programs so that identified troubled kids can get real help, and
  • Working with social media and Big Tech to try to spot warning signs online, which is a very common pre-attack indicator

The DNC hasn’t even mentioned being willing to address anything close to these steps.

The leadership of the DNC are quite simply not serious people.  They have no serious intention of effectively addressing “school shootings” beyond curtailing the 2nd Amendment rights of hundreds of millions of law-abiding Americans.

It’s my belief that in their minds, the problem is the free, widespread, and Constitutional ownership and use of firearms in America.  They seek to further erode our 2nd Amendment rights, and they will use every “school shooting” to further their agenda.

And this is just where we are at the moment.  Right now, it seems that maybe the DNC and the GOP have some common ground on which to debate.  But over the next few months, as the far Left of the Democrat Party builds to a fever pitch leading up to what is shaping up to be a defeat of historic proportions during the mid-term elections, you’re going to see some really unhinged bills ranging from demanding the actual confiscation of “assault rifles” to imposing mental evaluations for anyone who wants to buy a firearm to some subtle “modification” of the 2nd Amendment (just a few words) to actually repealing the 2nd Amendment entirely.

I predict that the DNC will dig in their heels on something like the 10-round magazine bit, or maybe the “ghost gun” thing, and when the whole package implodes because they can’t even get their entire party behind this movement, they’ll blame the GOP just ahead of the mid-term elections in order to score points with voters in the hopes of winning a few more votes.  They’ll go into the mid-terms with political ads depicting Republicans as gun-crazed White Supremacists, wearing MAGA hats, standing amid a field of tombstones of all the children killed by “assault guns”, or some such rot.  They’ll say, “See, the Republicans won’t let us pass any new gun laws!  Vote for us and we’ll make our kids safe”.

THE LIBERAL DEMAGOGING:

Dozens and dozens of innocent children have been senselessly murdered by sick monsters using firearms over the last 20+ years, and unfortunately, as mental stress on our children for many reasons (that’s another story altogether) increases, these “school shootings” are, indeed, going to rise unless something is done.

In his speech to the nation on June 2nd on the topic of gun violence, President Biden claimed that the CDC had recently found that guns were the number one killer of children in America!  That’s shocking and outrageous!  And it’s a lie.  It’s a flat-out lie and it wasn’t the slightest bit difficult for me to disprove.  It was easy to find the truth on the CDC’s own website.  The leading cause of death among American children is unintentional injury… yup, accidentsHere’s what’s actually posted there…

“Child unintentional injury death rates decreased 11% from 2010 to 2019, but injury is still the leading cause of death for children and teens in the United States — and some are at higher risk.

More than 7,000 children and teens age 0-19 died because of unintentional injuries in 2019.  That is about 20 deaths each day.  Leading causes of child unintentional injury include motor vehicle crashes, suffocation, drowning, poisoning, fires, and falls.  Child injury is often preventable.”

President Biden didn’t misspeak.  He was reading from a teleprompter.  He intentionally lied to the American people.  He does that all the time.

Recently, on Fox News Channel’s panel show “The Five”, Liberal panelist and former Democrat Congressman from Tennessee Harold Ford Jr., claimed that there had been “900 mass shootings” since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.  900 in 10 years… 90 per year… more than 7 per month!  His statement drew immediate howls of loud protests from his panel mates, and rightly so.

Again, I went back to my overblown, Liberal starting point Wikipedia, and sure enough, I easily found another list… a list that told me that at most there had been 145 “mass shootings” to date, since the start of 2012 (Sandy Hook was actually in December of that year).  And that’s the “raw” count without any sort of vetting, as I’ve done with their list of “school shootings” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mass_shootings_in_the_United_States).

This is the sort of Liberal hysteria that the anti-gun Left always brings to the debate.  Ford is a smart guy.  He believes this tripe and presents it as fact to those who will listen.

Like President Biden, the rest of the leadership of the DNC, and their talking heads on the cable news networks are not serious people.  They refuse to address skyrocketing crime, runaway inflation, critical supply chain crises, a southern border in chaos, a plethora of foreign policy concerns like a near-nuclear Iran and a growing threat from China, and, of course, even these horrific “school shootings”.

The sad truth is that there will be more “school shootings” and more innocent children will die.  But to blame the gun and not the hand that holds it, and more specifically the sick and twisted mind that controls that hand is insane.  Prudent and germane actions should be taken.  But focusing on guns and not taking a comprehensive approach is the wrong answer.

The DNC continues to blame guns and continues to negotiate falsely so that the problem continues to fuel their real agenda – to take guns away from all Americans.  An armed America is resistant to their agenda of centralized government control.  They cannot tolerate that.

Why don’t we ever hear the President – or any of the DNC leadership for that matter – all up on the stump about inner-city gun and gang violence?  There were more than 1,000 gun-related homicides in Chicago in 2021 alone, more than any other year on record.  And 2022 is shaping up to break that record.  But those are mostly poor, young black kids fighting over gang turf and drugs in DNC-controlled cities, so that doesn’t meet the Liberal anti-gun narrative.

And it’s not just Chicago.  In fact, Chicago isn’t even in the top 10 when it comes to homicides… they’re 28th in the nation!  St. Louis, Baltimore, Birmingham, Detroit, Dayton, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Kansas City, Memphis, and Cleveland are the top 10.  And you guessed, like Chicago, they’re all run by Democrats.

BACK TO REALITY:

So, let’s not tackle this issue of “school shootings” in a panic.

We’re a nation of 329 million people.  All 329 million of us have a Constitutional right to “keep and bear arms”.  If you lack an understanding of that amendment here’s a link to a great article that will explain that right in clear detail.

“School shootings” are horrible and tragic, but the truth is that in the nearly 22 years since 2000, only about 300 students and faculty have been killed using firearms in all scenarios, mostly in situations where one high school or college student has shot one other student or faculty member.  And fewer than 100 “school children” have been killed in legitimate “mass school shooting” scenarios, like the recent shooting in Uvalde.

Even if the larger figure of 300 is used, that’s 0.0001 of a percent of the U.S. population!  That’s a tragedy for every one of those families to be sure.  It’s a national tragedy that we’ve not already addressed this problem in a mature, non-political way.  But does it rise to a level that justifies curtailing the 2nd Amendment rights of 329 million Americans?  The DNC wants to convince you that it does.  In fact, they’re eager to withhold your rights.  They want you to believe that if you disagree, you’re gun-crazed, callous, and dangerous.

The truth is that three out of every ten American adults own a firearm.  Estimates place the number of legal firearms in civilian hands in America at over 390 million, with the average gun-owning American owning about 5 firearms.

Every day more than 95 million Americans did nothing illegal with their firearms whatsoever.  In fact, Americans use their legal firearms to defend themselves at least (in fact probably significantly more than) 2,500 times every day.  They have a Constitutional right to do so.  Does it make sense to curtail that right because of an emotional, arbitrary, rushed, politically motivated and incomplete effort driven by ignorant politicians?

THE REALITY OF THE ANTI-GUN MOVEMENT:

There are really two levels to the anti-gun movement in America.

The first level is the belief held by a growing number of Americans that guns are simply dangerous and unneeded in America.  This is the result of decades of propaganda from the anti-gun Left, such as Liberal billionaire Bloomberg’s media group “Everytown for Gun Safety”.  They message…

  • That the Police will protect us, so Americans don’t need their own guns.  These are the same Police that the Leftist “Defund the Police” movement tells us are hunting down and murdering young black men.
  • That the 2nd Amendment is all about hunting, so why do Americans need “military-grade assault rifles” with high-capacity magazines, when the truth is that the 2nd Amendment has nothing to do with hunting.
  • That gun owners are often unstable, and own guns simply to bolster their own masculinity.
  • That guns themselves are inherently dangerous and occasionally simply go off all by themselves.

This first group includes the vast majority of Americans who oppose private gun ownership and the 2nd Amendment in general.  They have literally been brainwashed by decades of propaganda from the anti-gun Left.

The second level of the anti-gun movement in America is much more insidious.  It has to do with the political belief long held by the Democratic Socialists that now run the DNC that private gun ownership in America stands against their plan to consolidate strong central government control.

These Democratic Socialists seek to erode States rights (set forth in the 10th Amendment) and increase the States dependency on the Federal government, which began with the conversion of the Senate from being the appointed representatives of the States’ Governors in Washington DC, into separately elected officials with the 17th Amendment in 1913 under President Woodrow Wilson, a Progressive Socialist.

They fear that with so many guns in the hands of private citizens any move they may eventually make to force their final consolidation of political power on the American people will be met with a bloody and extended guerrilla movement… and they’re right.

Our Founding Fathers knew exactly what was necessary to ensure the freedom of the American people.. that our right to keep and bear arms must not be infringed.

MY RECOMMENDATIONS:

At the start of this e-mail, I promised to list the limitations and restrictions to my 2nd Amendment rights that I would, personally, tolerate.  Here they are:

1. Raising the age to purchase a rifle to 21 years of age (similar to the Raise the Age Act, HR 3015, mentioned above) seems prudent and germane to the issue of “school shootings”, and would coincide with laws already on the books prohibiting the purchase of handguns to those under 21.  Of course, such a law would have to have the sorts of caveats noted above for military, etc.  I’m probably going to catch a lot of flak for this position, but I do think we (the pro-gun, pro-2nd Amendment community) have to take some action, and that it’s fair to yield some ground in light of the current level of gun violence in our country.

2. A national “safe storage” law (similar to Ethan’s Law, HR 748, mentioned above) also seems prudent and germane to the issue at hand, but only if it’s properly written (see my comments above).  I think Colorado did a good job with this.

I do NOT support yielding even on these matters unless it’s part of an honest and comprehensive solution that contains only measures that directly relate to the problem of “school shootings”, and includes movement on all three of the GOP measures noted above.  No money for COVID.  No money for Critical Race Theory.  No money for Gender Studies.  And no money for anti-gun education in our schools… because that’s coming – wait for it!

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