America’s kids are failed again
Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN
Updated 9:09 AM EDT, Tue March 28, 2023
When will our children be a priority? All this political divisiveness at the sake of our precious children’s lives… Something must be done now…How many more deaths?All the rhetoric does not mean much….
A more heartrending and quintessentially American scene is hard to imagine.
A human chain of children, hand-in-hand, shepherded by police officers, fled the latest school struck by unfathomable tragedy. On Monday, it was Nashville’s turn to join the roster of cities made notorious by a mass shooting epidemic much of the country seems prepared to tacitly accept as the price of the right to own high-powered firearms…
The reality of what unfolded inside was inhuman, but it can unfortunately be imagined given the gruesome insider accounts that emerged from previous school shootings – in Uvalde, Texas, last year, or at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut in 2012.
Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney, all 9 years old, were gunned down by a shooter armed with two AR-style weapons and a handgun, two of which police said were bought legally. Their names – known only to the rest of America in death – were released by police about the same time as they should have been going home from Covenant School for the day
Three staff, all half a century older, also died. They were Cynthia Peak, 61, Katherine Koonce, 60, and Mike Hill, 61…
They were all murdered in the place that should be the safest: where kids go to school. But a plague of recent classroom rampages, distinguished even among America’s gun violence by their depravity, shows that nowhere is really secure. That’s why millions of parents often drop their kids off with a nagging fear about whether their school is next. And it’s why a generation of kids has endured active shooter drills that will mark them – just as children halfway through the last century dived under desks in duck-and-cover practices in case of atomic warfare. The difference now is that the danger comes not from a foreign nuclear rival but from within…
Firearms are the leading cause of death in American kids aged 1 to 19, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation based on 2020 data. And while many guns claim kids in violent neighborhoods, not in the classroom, schools seem to be increasingly vulnerable…
According to data from the Gun Violence Archive, the Nashville horror was among at least 130 mass shootings so far this year – more than this point in any previous year since at least 2013. (The GVA, like CNN, defines a mass shooting as one in which at least four people are shot, excluding the shooter.) Such events are now so frequent that there are some cases of people who survived one such event getting caught up in the aftermath of a subsequent one.
Ashbey Beasley, who escaped the July Fourth mass shooting last year in Highland Park, Illinois, was visiting Tennessee on a family trip when Monday’s shooting occurred. She made an unannounced appearance on live television and asked, “How is this still happening? Why are our children still dying?”
Revealing another tragic web of gun violence consequences, Beasley later told CNN’s Erin Burnett that she had arranged to have lunch with a friend whose son was killed in a mass shooting at a Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee, five years ago, who called her to let her know her living son was in lockdown in a Nashville school because of Monday’s mass shooting..
“This is where we are at, we have children living through multiple mass shooting (incidents). What are we doing?” Beasley told Burnett. Former President Barack Obama tweeted a video of Beasley’s original comments, writing, “We are failing our children.”…
Monday’s shooting in Illinois was so frustrating to people like Beasley because the rituals that followed it were so familiar – and so futile. Everyone knows that they will be going through the same routine again soon. Republican politicians quickly offered “thoughts and prayers” or stayed silent. Their Democratic counterparts demanded gun reform. Calls for an improvement in mental health care, which spring up after every mass shooting, are likely next…
At the White House, President Joe Biden diverted from remarks at a previously scheduled event highlighting the role of women in small business to address yet another school shooting...
We have to do more to stop gun violence. It’s ripping our communities apart, ripping the soul of this nation,” the grim-faced president said. Biden made the call for action that is now a defining feature of the ineffective political maneuvering that always follows mass shootings, whether they are in schools in Texas or Tennessee or a supermarket in Buffalo or on a university campus in Michigan.
“I call on Congress again to pass my assault weapons ban. It’s about time that we began to make some more progress,” Biden said. The president understands perfectly that such a step was impossible in the past Congress and will be in the present one, where Republicans control the House and Democrats are still well short of 60 votes in the Senate. A presidential call for action has almost become a custom of mourning as much as a plea for political coalition building. Biden will likely be doing something similar again very soon…
America’s frozen guns debate…
One of the top Senate Republicans, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, quickly tamped down any ideas that the deaths of three small kids and three adults who looked after them would make any political difference. “I would say we’ve gone about as far as we can go – unless somebody identifies some area that we didn’t address,” Cornyn told CNN…
The Texas Republican was a vital player in passing bipartisan gun legislation last year despite some fierce opposition from gun rights activists in his home state. The new law, which was the most significant federal firearms reform in decade, followed the horrific shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde that killed 21 people. While it doesn’t ban any weapons, it includes measures offering states more incentives to fund red flag laws, which allow courts to temporarily seize firearms from anyone believed to be a danger to themselves or others. This was all a fragile Senate coalition could bear.
Despite his previous role, Cornyn also expressed some frustration with Biden’s remarks. “The president just keeps coming back to the same old tired talking points. So he’s not offering any new solutions or ideas. If he does, I think we should consider them, but so far, I haven’t heard anything.”
In one sense, Cornyn – who predicted no action on guns until at least the next election – was simply stating the facts. Biden does call for an assault weapons ban after most mass shootings. But to hear such a suggestion described as “tired talking points” is still jarring after Monday’s shooter was carrying two AR-style weapons and killed six people.
The Texas senator also encapsulated the reality, frustration and limitations of the guns debate. He said that such bans would affect “law-abiding citizens” adding, “I don’t believe those law-abiding citizens are a threat to public safety.”
Cornyn is right that most Americans who own such firearms never infringe the law, use their weapons recklessly or much less launch mass shootings. But at the same time, some of these weapons designed for the battlefield have the capacity to cause enormous carnage in just a few moments. The assailants that open fire with them in schools, shopping malls or bars have sometimes been law-abiding until their attacks…
The political argument on guns is essentially about the rights of which Americans take priority. Is it those of citizens who own such weapons, even though a tiny minority of them use them to create mayhem and murder? Or should it be the victims of gun crime, like those kids and adults gunned down in Nashville, who had their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness eradicated in a few seconds of terror?
“Our message here is very, very clear: Enough is enough. We need to see action in Congress,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins on “This Morning” Tuesday, rejecting Cornyn’s remarks…
A political tragedy underlies many of these mass shootings. In a bitter political climate, where any attempts at gun legislation are portrayed as an attempt to illegally snatch away firearms, there is no reachable common ground between upholding the constitutional right to bear arms and the wishes of many Americans who want stricter gun laws…
The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a hero of the conservative movement, wrote in the Heller opinion in 2008 that it was permissible for the government to regulate firearms while remaining faithful to the Second Amendment. He wrote that the right secured by the amendment was not “a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”
That’s a position that has long been overtaken by the Republican Party’s march to the right – a fact that Cornyn implicitly underscored in his comments.
This lack of any common ground on an issue of deadly importance parallels the wider disconnect in a politically polarized society that increasingly lacks a common cultural understanding…
This political paralysis means that there are almost certainly some young kids going to school as usual on Tuesday morning, who, one day, won’t come home after class.
6 thoughts on “Gun reform paralysis: America’s kids are failed again with another mass shooting – CNNPolitics”
I think this present system of government, here and elsewhere, is dysfunctional. Politicians rarely represent their constituents fully, having a disregard for for the most pressing issues of the day. What should replace it? Perhaps citizen assemblies are a start, along with devolution. Let communities take responsibility for their own futures.
You may agree that violence and fear can begin in mid childhood. Children who are deprived of love, are not encouraged to love, do not have a secure family environment, are not listened to and valued and not stimulated enough to explore and discover the world around them sometimes turn to violence against whoever they may “select” as a victim later in life. Sadly and dangerously.
Which is where responsible parents and creative teachers come in. Often to try heal childhood trauma. But, again, sadly without wider community support ( but with sometimes unwelcome government political dogma.)
Thank you for your posts.
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Dearest Andrew…You are so right…This has got to change…We the people must do something…Money and gun organization here are dictating policy…And our political leaders are patsies…All they want is power….And our precious children are used…Not protected…”But”…I feel we will come out of this…These young people will grow up, and be the “change”… Take good care… Thank you for sharing…Blessings this Apri…💜🪄🌟🌞✨🍎📚
They will indeed Janis. But what about the “shooter”, the killer of these innocent souls,
the wayward politician, the haters, the war mongers? I refer to the second part of my reply. Guns do not fire themselves, as a failed invention with one purpose only: to kill.
After I so fortunately retired from payed employment years earlier than the statuary age, I finally got to renounce capitalism and all its evils. Now I spend my time reconnecting to my childhood and spirituality. Whatever shape we leave the Earth in when we finally go Home, children will change what is to what can be. But I hope the more enlightened souls will be accepted as guides and willing helpers, so that They can coexist together in love and harmony.
Love, joy and peace.
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I am holding onto Hope…The public outrage and our President Biden will bring about this needed change now… I so appreciate your philosophical spiritualitity…I am right there with you…I feel as we live…We truly realize and appreciate the essence of this journey…💜🌟🌞✨💫🙏🏼🌍
When I read and hear about these tragic events, it breaks my heart. As a Canadian, I struggle with the paralysis on gun law reforms in the US. To put it in perspective, Canada 15 school shooting deaths period and that is 15 too many
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Dear Ivon,sir.. Thank you so much for sharing your insight…So dearly appreciate our Canadian Neighbors; their values and spirit… Those of us here in US…who are struggling with our political divisiveness affecting the lives of our precious children… Definitely demand gun reform, banning the AR-15…
It may take some “good trouble”…🙏🏼
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