Updated: May 26
Within less than a fortnight we have nineteen children and two teachers dead in a Texas school plus the shooter's grandmother, surviving in critical condition, ten people killed in a Buffalo supermarket, a random slaying on a New York subway, and this is only gun violence that made national news. The Texas shplus the shooter's grandmother, who survived in critical conditionooter was according to initial accounts a deeply troubled 18-year-old. The subway shooting was unprovoked. The Buffalo atrocity was the work of an 18-year-old white supremacist provoked by the deranged mass hysteria known as great replacement theory.
Nothing we do will ensure that nothing like this ever happens again. A reasonable person might, however, wonder why we would not try to make it more difficult for individuals who would commit such acts to obtain the means to commit them and maybe, just maybe, less likely that these events would occur as frequently as they do. That person would be left wondering.
There is no magic bullet, so to speak, to counter the gun fetishists, gun peddlers in gleeful pursuit of the right to maximize profits, self-styled militias out to overthrow the government and install Joe Biden's predecessor as maximum supreme leader, and political hacks who resist every effort to regulate instruments of destruction routinely used to wreak havoc on innocent people. The constitutional structure of our government gives them the means to do this effectively. Beyond that, there is no reason for confidence that courts packed with Trump-appointed justices would uphold even feeble regulation should it obtain sufficient bipartisan support to pass.
Republicans offer thoughts, prayers, and the proposal by the attorney general of the great state of Texas to arm teachers.
My customary exhortation to keep the faith, to do whatever is in our power, however little that may be, however hopeless it may seem, however helpless we may feel, comes up lame. But what else are we to do?
William Saletan, writing at The Bulwark, points out that "[p]oliticians who stand in the way of reasonable measures—universal background checks, red flag laws, restrictions on high-capacity magazines—are…endangering cops and communities by helping to arm killers."
The Uvalde shooter reportedly had an AR-15, a handgun, and high-capacity magazines. He had bought two guns the day he turned 18, because at that age it’s legal to buy rifles. And, like the mass shooter two weeks ago in Buffalo, he was able to fend off armed officers, thanks to his gear, which—according to the Texas Department of Public Safety—may have included body armor.
If 19 children and two teachers had died in an elementary school after budget cuts to the local police department, House and Senate Republicans wouldn’t be begging for common ground. They’d be in front of every camera and microphone today, pounding Democrats for defunding police.
Instead, these children died after Republicans, in the name of "law-abiding gun owners," blocked legislation that might have prevented this tragedy and kept this shooter, among others, from outgunning the cops. For that, they should be called what they are: enemies of law and order. (Stop Begging. Start Fighting.)
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr is a longtime advocate for gun control whose father was assassinated by Islamic Jihad in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1984:
I’m tired. I am so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there. I am so tired of the—excuse me, I’m sorry—I am tired of the moments of silence. Enough! —Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr. Kerr is a longtime advocate for gun control. His (Ben Golliver, Steve Kerr slams senators after Uvalde school shooting, The Washington Post, May 25, 2022; Frederick J. Frommer, Steve Kerr’s life was shaken by gun violence when it took his father, The Washington Post, May 25, 2022)
Also at The Bulwark, Charlie Sykes:
Hanging over all of this, there is also the sure knowledge that nothing—absolutely nothing — will be done except the usual expense of spirit in a waste of shame. We know that it will happen again.
So yes, this is a time for grief. But also for incandescent anger. (Charlie Sykes, A Bad Night for Trump’s Big Lie Plus: Our gun debate doom loop)
Memo from the editorial desk: The first sentence was revised to clarify that the shooter's grandmother survived. I was initially under the misapprehension that she too was killed. May 26, 4:15 pm.