Quiet. Hear that? Not if you’re listening for the sound of gun laws being changed so children will not be shot to death in America’s schools.
School massacres have become so frequent that there was a noticeable absence of the strong reactions expected after 10 students and adults were killed by a 17-year-old shooter last week in Santa Fe, Texas.
Even newspaper editorial pages that typically rage after such tragedies were mostly silent, as if they too are tired of repeating the same calls for reform to no avail.
Celebrities who in an earlier time might not speak their mind have become more outspoken in the age of Twitter.
“Our children have come to expect gun violence in their schools,” tweeted the actress Julianne Moore. “Our leaders should be ashamed. #NoNRA”
— Julianne Moore (@_juliannemoore) May 18, 2018
“Sending all of my love to the students and families in Santa Fe, Texas,” tweeted Ellen DeGeneres. “We can do better than this.”
Sending all of my love to the students and families in Santa Fe, Texas. We can do better than this. We must do better than this.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) May 18, 2018
The entertainers’ tweets were more compassionate than those of another TV celebrity, President Trump, who initially tweeted: “School shooting in Texas. Early reports not looking good. God bless all!”
He might as well have been giving a weather report.
Ditto Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), who, along with his prayers, tweeted this advice to Santa Fe High students, “Please be safe and heed warnings from local officials.”
Heidi and I are keeping all the students and faculty at Santa Fe High School in our prayers this morning, along with all first responders on the scene. Please be safe and heed warnings from local officials. https://t.co/5Un3Y4IA86
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) May 18, 2018
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick opined that schools with fewer doors and more metal detectors were needed. “There are too many entrances and too many exits,” said Patrick, in his best impersonation of a prison warden.
That’s the type of rhetoric being spouted by elected officials who have no intention of significantly changing gun laws. They have surrendered to the National Rifle Association.
They were no more inspired to act after the killing of 10 people at Santa Fe High School than they were after 17 people died at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., or when 26 people were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.
There have been 288 school shootings in the United States since 2009; the next closest country is Mexico, with eight, and gun ownership is the biggest variable distinguishing this country from the rest. The United States has 270 million guns and has had more than 90 mass shootings since 1966. No other country has more than 46 million guns or has had more than 18 mass shootings.
The battle for gun reform must not end in defeat. Assault weapons should be banned; and gun owners should be held responsible for their guns.
Texas is one of only 14 states that make parents liable when their children take guns from home to commit crimes. But, ironically, Texas law doesn’t apply to children over 16, like Santa Fe shooter Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17.
Schoolchildren dying in a hail of gunfire hasn’t motivated elected officials to change gun laws. But voters at the polls this year can let the politicians know they remember what happened at Sandy Hook, Stoneman Douglas, and Santa Fe schools, and that incumbents should remember too if they want to be reelected.