Opinion | Uvalde shooting must be the last

Teens+hold+signs+and+protest+for+gun+reform+in+Washington%2C+DC+on+February+19%2C+2018+after+a+Highschool+shooting+in+Parkland%2C+Florida.+Senior+Columnist+Andrew+Prozorovsky+believes+that+the+Uvalde+tragedy+is+not+just+another+mass+shooting+and+that+new+gun+regulations+need+to+be+made+now+to+prevent+against+Americas+gun+problem.+

Photo courtesy of Lorie Shaull/Wikimedia Commons

Teens hold signs and protest for gun reform in Washington, DC on February 19, 2018 after a Highschool shooting in Parkland, Florida. Senior Columnist Andrew Prozorovsky believes that the Uvalde tragedy is not just another mass shooting and that new gun regulations need to be made now to prevent against America’s gun problem.

By Andrew Prozorovsky, Senior Columnist

Since before my lifetime, mass shootings have been a prevalent and uniquely American problem. 

By now, Americans have become desensitized and numbed to the nonstop shootings. But the devastating Uvalde school shooting which killed 21 people, 19 of them children, has managed to force Americans out of a state of acceptance and into a state of fury. And what has followed is the predictable and ludicrous arguments defending the status quo regarding gun laws.

Columbine shocked the nation. Sandy Hook terrified parents nationwide. Parkland emboldened then-high school students, like me, to walk out in protest of the unchanging status of gun laws. And aside from a few tweaks to federal legislation, government officials, for the most part, have utterly failed to address the concerns of their voters.

Uvalde isn’t just another tragedy to add to the list. Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland had a school resource officer who failed to stop the massacre. Uvalde’s brazen missteps go even further: on-site police officers refused to enter the building and students had to endure an active shooting for over an hour.

Then, Trump and others still spoke at an incredibly poorly timed NRA conference days later to peddle the antiquated arguments.

The gun lobby understood this tragedy to be bad publicity for the cause and quickly disseminated the novel talking points.

First, the familiar “now is not the time to be political.” This is a politically expedient statement, and anyone who espouses it should be treated as insincere. A problem has presented itself and the people demand answers. The answer is not to shut down the dialogue.

Then, an odd, new argument: Door security is actually the problem. Texas Senator Ted Cruz argued that schools should only have “one way in and one way out.” If only that solution weren’t an asinine suggestion to turn schools into a fire hazard and a traffic bottleneck.

The Texas GOP executing a media campaign against door security in schools is all one needs to see to know how disingenuous and ridiculous the arguments will become to circumvent the obvious conclusion that America needs more gun control.

Guns actually have a lot of utility in society: aside from the typical argument of “self-defense” against home invaders, there are also needs for hunting and protecting livestock. Some firearms are family heirlooms. 

These arguments aren’t without issue, however. The argument that arms are needed to fight against a tyrannical government would have merit if the U.S. government and its military budget didn’t already outgun any militia group that could be mobilized. 

But while these arguments may be true, the evidence is conclusive. No country presently faces this same pattern of slaughter. Federal agencies can’t even study the issue, but all the available data suggests the obvious: America must get serious about regulating lethal weaponry.

Then, there is the great “good guy with a gun” lie. Not only does it reduce individuals to a moral extreme, but an armed individual is rarely responsible for preemptively stopping a mass shooting. In the case of Uvalde, even law enforcement was unwilling to involve itself in a situation where an individual was heavily armed — far past the point of what should be acceptable.

And school police officers are fairly ineffective, especially given that most shooters are well aware of the existing security protocols and patterns when they decide to descend on a school.

The ridiculous suggestion of training teachers also has been revived in the wake of Uvalde. Teachers sign up to educate. They don’t enlist for the sake of becoming trained gunmen. The gun lobby has a clear incentive to advocate for more guns as a solution to rampant gun violence. 

These shooters have procured the same weapon, the AR-15, through ridiculous legal loopholes that Congress refuses to mend. The problem is not just mental health, and it certainly isn’t some other cultural moral panic like video games, the data indicates clearly that access to these powerful and lethal weapons leads to killing sprees.

Unfortunately, Supreme Court rulings like D.C. v. Heller provided a new, individualistic interpretation of the second amendment which has made gun control advocacy harder.

Gun control has only historically appealed to certain factions of the American right-wing when Black activists arm themselves or when organized gangs form in neighborhoods where policing is weak.

Still, Congress is finally nourishing the dehydrated man with a drop of water. A bipartisan deal in the Senate may overcome the filibuster and would assuredly pass the House. This deal regards both school security and the bare minimum of gun regulation by closing certain loopholes. 

This deal would also close the “boyfriend loophole,” and since much of gun violence can be attributed to domestic abusers, it may be a significant step in the right direction.

This country needs to decide — at the polls or otherwise — whether it values the lives of children more than it values its niche obsession with firearms. Supporting common-sense gun control proposals is not the same as supporting the seizure of all guns, no matter how much the infamous and now embattled NRA professes it.

If a populous trail of dead children cannot motivate Congress, it is a great mystery what will.

 

Andrew is a senior in LAS.

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