In today’s America, mass shootings are a very unfortunate reality. Each event a tragic stain on our history, it can be difficult to fathom exactly how to solve the problem. A pattern follows, and the country begins a discussion of solutions involving gun control, which some empirical data suggests will not work. Even then, however, we’re missing a critical cause of American deaths that kills even more people than mass shootings do: police brutality.
Without a doubt, mass shootings are a major issue in the United States today. Too often, a gunman opens fire and kills innocent people. As a result, many American citizens and officeholders alike are calling for drastic increases in gun control. They believe that doing so will help to reduce gun violence in America.
To defend this point, two figures are often touted; that there is nearly a mass shooting a day in America and that our country is a radical outlier in mass shootings and violence. Ultimately, though, neither of these points rings true. Both reside on a faulty foundation that involves manipulating the facts.
Ian Brzeski | United States
Shots were reported at a Madden 19 tournament in Jacksonville, Florida today, which was being live streamed on Twitch. People tuning in to the stream were able to hear a dozen or so shots. Authorities confirmed “multiple fatalities” at the scene, including the suspected shooter. The event was being held at GLHF Game Bar in an upscale area known as The Landing.
Since it was a stream, the clip was recorded, and viewer discretion is advised. In the video right before the shooting occurred, you can see around the 27-second mark that a red-dot appeared on the shooter’s chest. Right after, the recording of the players cuts out and leaves only the Madden gameplay. A couple seconds later, gunshots could be heard along with the screams of the people.
The player on the stream who had the red-dot on his chest was shot 3 times. He was a professional Madden player who played for the Bucks Gaming Team. “I have to get to him. I am four hours away from him and I have to get to my son,” the mother of the deceased player said on the phone.
Authorities have reported that 11 people were shot and there are 4 confirmed deaths. The shooter, identified only as a white male, is also dead at the scene. The scene of the shooting has been cleared and many people were evacuated out of the building. No more details have been released so far.
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By Indri Schaelicke | United States
School shootings are events that no one wishes to occur. Yet, we are facing a tragedy, and need a solution. However, the weeks of media coverage only bring incessant gun control rhetoric. Even before all of the facts and details of the case are investigated and released by authorities, supporters of both stances on the issue pounce upon the story and exploit it for political gain. Prime-time news coverage is filled with leftists who openly advocate for infringements upon our inalienable right to own and use firearms.
Even worse, however, are the never-ending calls for large scale gun confiscation and bans on assault weapons. These claims contradict clear evidence that shows how the programs have not worked in other countries.
Proponents of gun control measures often point to Australia’s National Firearms Agreement of 1996 as a model for US policy. The act increased control of semi and fully automatic weapons, making it so only licensed people could use them for a short list of purposes. Personal protection did not make the list. The act also included a gun buyback program. The graph below shows the rates of various violent crimes between 1996 and 2010. Since the legislation was enacted, only one of five categories, robbery, has fallen. On the contrary, assault has risen dramatically.
(More on Australia’s National Firearms Agreement of 1996 is available here.)
The data clearly indicates that the goal of the policy instituted was not met. So, why would it work in a country with greater levels of gang violence and organized crime?
The issue with large scale gun confiscation is more than just a pragmatic one. The restricting of someone’s right to bear arms limits their ability to defend their own life. It is our natural right to defend ourselves against aggressors, and when the state makes it more difficult to do so, they are infringing upon natural rights.
So, how do we protect those the most vulnerable and defenseless, young children in schools without infringing upon natural rights? The solution is to allow school districts to hire private, armed security to stand guard at schools.
Governor Greg Abbott of Texas recently unveiled his plan to address school safety, which would include hiring and arming veterans to guard schools from active shooters. The Governor’s plan is a step in the right direction, as it recognizes that criminals will get their hands on guns and commit horrible crimes, no matter what laws are in place. However, increasing the amount of armed, trained officials within schools decreases the response time to an active shooter situation. A plan such as this may have saved lives in Parkland, where police took several crucial minutes too arrive at and act on the scene.
Reducing the decision to hire armed private security to defend schools down to the local level allows the community to come together and decide if that is something they are comfortable with having within their schools. Many parents and students may have strong feelings either way about the proposal, and they should be given the chance to have their opinions heard. The community must also decide if it is something they are willing to fund, as it would take significant cash to be able to finance such a plan.
Hiring private security to defend schools against active shooter threats is the most logical way to protect the most vulnerable, our young children, while also not infringing upon our natural right to bear arms.
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By Clint Sharp | United States
On February 14, 2018, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School around 2 o’clock in the afternoon. In only a few short minutes, the young man killed 17 people and injured 17 others with an AR-15 style rifle before being apprehended by police.
This horrid act sparked outrage across the nation. For months, gun control was the main topic of conversation across the nation with walk-outs, protests, debates, and gun bills popping up around every corner. Television, newspapers, and social media outlets streamed nonstop updates on the mass shooting and followed all of the controversy surrounding it. Although many believed that this shooting meant the end of our 2nd Amendment rights, it soon faded from headlines, leaving behind a trail of people still fighting to remove the rights of individuals.
Fast forward to May 18 of the same year, and a very different story is told. 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis killed 10 people and wounded 13 others at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas. Armed with a sawed-off 12 gauge shotgun and a .38 revolver, the student walked into the school’s art complex and began shooting at approximately 7:40 AM before being brought into custody. Explosives were found at the scene but were unused.
Although this shooting was reported on major news outlets, it was very quickly passed off as old news within a couple of days. So why did a shooting like the one that happened at Stoneman Douglas cause such a national stir while the shooting at Santa Fe was only mentioned in passing? Simply put, it did not match the agenda of the left-wing activists and politicians.
The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was exactly what the left had hoped for. A young man with known mental issues and of legal age to purchase a gun obtained an assault-style rifle with multiple high-capacity magazines and shot up a school in a conservative state (according to 2016 poll results).
Truly a perfect storm.
From this, they could argue that it was too easy for Cruz to obtain an assault-style rifle. They could argue that he was mentally ill, yet still managed to purchase a firearm due to his age and lack of criminal record. They could argue the purpose of high capacity magazines and assault-style rifles in the hands of non-military personnel and whether they were protected under the 2nd Amendment. The left could appeal to the emotions of the entire nation, after all, is the individual’s freedom worth forfeiting the safety of our children?
Santa Fe on the other hand, while still a tragedy, is the antithesis of the Stoneman Douglas shooting. A minor stole a legally obtained pump action shotgun, perhaps the most common long gun in the United States, and a 6-shot revolver from his father. He saws the barrel of the shotgun off, an illegal action, and carries the two guns to school to commit his heinous actions.
This proves that the type of gun, the capacity of the firearm, the age of the shooter, and the means by which the weapons are obtained are mostly arbitrary to the amount of damage that can be caused by an evil individual, thus rendering the left’s points null and void.
It is for this reason that the Santa Fe shooting was swept under the rug. It proved that shootings and mass violence are not caused by assault-style rifles, high capacity magazines, lax gun laws, and the 2nd Amendment, but rather by evil and twisted individuals who desire to be nothing more than the genesis of grief for people all over the nation. It didn’t fit the agenda of the overwhelmingly liberal media so it was only mentioned, not covered.
The act of ignoring this tragic loss of human life brings to question what other things remain hidden in the dark shroud outside of party and ideological agendas, on both the right and the left.
How many people have been murdered silently due to apathy? How many bills have been passed without question because the public did not know?
Until agendas are put aside for the sake of information, more and more will remain hidden from the public and more and more will happen without anyone’s knowledge otherwise.