This needs to change. Why is it so difficult?

Just attended an active-shooter-response “training” session, required, at the college where I teach. It’s so depressing, and traumatizing, that we even have to talk about this stuff. Our K-12 schools have to have THREE lockdown drills a year. This must be fun for the children.

It’s so awful that we spend all this time and energy teaching our children, and ourselves, what to do if such a terrible thing happens; it’s even more awful that it’s more time and energy than we seem to spend trying to prevent it from happening. (And by this I don’t mean installing locks on the outside doors and having everyone go into the school through the office. I’m talking about our insistence that everyone has a right to buy a semi-automatic weapon and keep it, and thousands of rounds of ammunition, in their homes.)

The argument that if you don’t like guns don’t buy one, (this argument has actually been made to me personally by someone I’ve known since childhood), is ludicrous. I doubt the children at Sandy Hook, or Newtown, or in movie theaters or fast-food restaurants, were only affected by guns if they owned one.

Why is it, given that more people think we shouldn’t have such easy access to weaponry than think we should maintain the status quo, that we can’t change this?

A woman at my table asked whether the presenters, both law-enforcement personnel, had any statistics regarding the frequency of this in other countries. The answer was that other countries have these problems, too, in the forms of bombings and chemical attacks; that they build their schools like bunkers; that we live in a more open society and that this is the price we pay. I wanted to shout “bullshit,” but I didn’t want to make a scene.

This article points out that there are countries where fewer guns are owned but more people are killed — principally in South America and South Africa. I would have to point out the obvious – that these are relatively politically and societally unstable countries, and that we should hardly be feeling good about a favorable comparison to Johannesburg.

This article states that Americans are 20 times more likely to die from gun violence than their European counterparts, including the claim that “. . .the United States, they found, has more firearms per capita, the most permissive gun control laws and a disproportionate amount of firearm-related deaths from homicides, suicides and accidents. ‘The United States had a homicide rate 6.9 times higher than those in the other high-income countries, driven by a firearm homicide rate that was 19.5 times higher than those in the other high-income countries,’ the report says. ‘For 15 year olds to 24 year olds, the firearm homicide rate in the United States was 42.7 times higher than in the other countries.”

We as Americans think of ourselves as people for whom our children’s safety is one of our most important jobs. Something must be done. And we must stop just saying that, and doing it.

Anybody with any ideas how?

She thinks so, too.

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