What Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Parkland have in common is that these are suburban type of schools, ,with well educated articulate parents , and demographics similar to suburbs elsewhere. Whether the trend to losses of the GOP in the suburbs will be intensified by the sympathy toward stricter gun control is not yet measured. However, it is possible. parents and grandparents in suburbs around the country can easily imagine what happened in Parkland could happen to them and their children and translate that into large election day turnout and votes for supporters of stricter gun control.. This could be an additional motivation for those suburban women who are already inspired by the women's marches, #me too, and the issues they highlighted.
The Florida House cut the high school crusade off at the knees before they even listened to the students by refusing to bring their issues up for debate at the outset. This is a great civics lesson. The answer, my friends, is blowin' in the wind. The high school students have public opinion and sympathy filling their sails. 2/3 of voters favor an assault weapon ban per the most recent poll. When a movement is stonewalled like this, change lies in voting out state and federal representatives district by district and replacing them.
Waiting for more God in our lives or reversing our culture to old fashioned ways is not a solution to an epidemic happening now. So what could the students ask legislators to do? One approach alone is not the answer. Each proposal I have heard has some weaknesses as well as some advantages The answer lies in "many of the above".from improving mental health services, tip lines, background checks, even metal detectors, more uniformed and armed guards in school.
Above all, banning assault weapons and enhancements to increase their deadliness within a few minutes and with minimal skill would be the single most effective policy. If the latter is done, raising ages required to buy such weapons or even expanding and improving background check data bases to include court determined extreme risk individuals known to be violently angry or mentally ill, and arming teachers would be less necessary to defend against young adult or teenage males bearing AR-15.
Both the shooter in this case and the Aurora theater killer had access and sought mental health care, but there are very strict laws to protect their rights and law enforcement failed to follow up even when they could. Even mental health professionals tell me they cannot always spot a potential mass killer and not all killers are mentally ill. Some are just consumed with anger. That illustrates the weakness and room for improvement for relying solely on mental health services . Tip lines certainly need to get more serious attention. Expanding those eligible to be included in universal round checks may help.
. Putting in metal detection at entrances might work, but it could be difficult in open campuses and multi building schools such as the one in Parkland, Florida. Restricting open campuses and hardened building entrances may help. There was active shooter training and community police officers in the Parkland school .It was not enough..Arming teachers? A teacher armed with a concealed handgun is supposed to outgun a person armed with an AR15 without killing innocents in the crossfire? A first responder may mistake a gun wielding teacher for the perp and shoot him, too. This idea is one where the cure could be worse than the disease and it may wither away for lack of participants. There are no teachers I know or teacher organizations who would participate. More uniformed, trained security guards would make more sense so hang the expense and do it..
Banning future sales of assault weapons or raising the age to 21 to buy an assault weapons with long enough cooling off periods to do a background check would make it harder for teenagers to get weapons that can kill seventeen people in 6 minutes. Banning bump stocks or reducing the size of clips can also reduce the numbers killed. With a nation awash with AR 15s, and taking them away from current gun owners is a non-starter. for me. However, a voluntary buy back program might reduce some of the existing stock at risk for theft and misuse by criminals and family members.
Also see prior blogposts: Reflections on the Parkland shooting and a Facebook debate between a pro gun advocate and me.
Footenote: David Hogg was accused of being a “conspiracy actor’ in part because his post shooting interviews were well spoken, but he runs the highschool TV station and produced an video of the event. You Tube and Trending yanked the conspiracy postings and apologized. Fact checker Snopes did a thorough investigation of the conspiracy postings and debunked them.https://www.snopes.com/2018/02/20/right-wing-media-david-hogg/