In calendar year 2019, there have been two what would be considered “school shootings” and zero mass shootings in a school.

One incident was the STEM School shooting in Highlands Ranch, Colorado in which two students armed with guns they had obtained by using an axe and a crowbar to break into a locked gun cabinet, randomly shot at other students. One student was killed when a group tried to disarm one of the shooter; eight students were wounded.

The second incident happened recently in Santa Clarita, California. A single shooter came to Saugus High School, retrieved a pistol from a backpack and began shooting. Two students were killed; three more were injured. The shooter used his last bullet to shoot himself in the head and died later at the hospital.

There are more than 98,000 K-12 public schools in the United States. An estimated 50 million-plus students are enrolled in these schools.

These incidents are frightening because they are random. However, they are still exceedingly rare. A great deal of effort has gone into artificially inflate these numbers to include incidents that have no relation to a school, such as a motorist who was shot and crashed into a school building or shots fired at a fast-food restaurant across the street from a school, or a double homicide at a site where a school was being built.

Violence is violence. We can make excuses, too. We freely admit that we have a problem with gangs, organized crime, and the illicit drug trade. In rare moments of candor, we might even admit that any legislation we might pass, including gun bans, is not going to make a significant difference.

I would suggest that you visit the Hey Jackass website. It will give you detailed information on violence in Chicago. Note that violence is fairly concentrated in certain neighborhoods and highly concentrated in racial groups. It’s worth noting that the city of Chicago has no licensed gun shops or pawn shops licensed to handle firearms. All guns in the city, including those used by police, come from outside of the city.

Washington, D.C. also has a very high homicide rate and there is a single licensed dealer who does not maintain any inventory. Guns must be purchased outside of the city and transferred in from a licensed dealer in another state.

The media makes a lot of police shootings, especially when the victim is a person of color. However, an examination of shootings by law enforcement officers indicates that only a very small number of these incidents are even questionable. All police shootings in the United States are investigated. In fact, many departments require at least a supervisory review if an officer draws his or her sidearm from the holster, even if the weapon is not discharged. Most officers involved in these shootings are cleared and back on patrol in a few days.

I won’t deny the U.S. has a higher rate of firearm mortality than some other nations. The U.S. also has a lower rate of firearm mortality than other nations. The term “developed” is often used to justify one comparison while dismissing the other, however as far as I can tell, the actual operative word is “white.”

Over the past ten years, the average homicide rate among white, non-Hispanic Americans has been 1.67 per 100,000 U.S. population, which compares quite favorably to the Western Europe. In 2017, for example, the homicide rate in Ireland was 1.50 per 100,000; for American whites, it was 1.76. The average rate for Hispanic Americans is about the same. For non-Hispanic blacks, the rate was 3.04 per 100,000.

Blacks are victimized far more often and the situation is getting worse. Not only is the homicide rate higher but the gap between the white rate and black rate is growing.

In 2008, the homicide rate among blacks was 45% higher than for whites. By 2017, it was 72% higher. Over the past ten years the black homicide rate has average 60% higher than the white rate.

This doesn’t include shootings by police, justified or not.

A lot of people forget that Otis McDonald, who was the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case that got Chicago’s handgun ban tossed, was an older black man. He wanted to be able to have a handgun in his home for protection.

Let’s do a little thought exercise, shall we? Let’s suppose the demographics of the United States were similar to those in Ireland. With the same mix of white and other racial groups, the U.S. homicide rate works out to be 1.87. That’s slightly higher than Belgium at 1.69 and close to the same as Canada at 1.80. Note that studies indicate that whites are more likely to be legal gun owners than blacks but the number of blacks receiving handgun carry permits is rising much faster than the rate for white men.

The problem with much of the world view of the U.S. is that it comes from our media, which is heavy on sensationalism and light on facts or accuracy. American media and politicians like big numbers, but they aren’t so fond of the facts behind them.

You call for disarmament. I really don’t think you grasp the impossibility of that. Not unlikely; not difficult: impossible. As long as anybody in the world can have a gun, anybody else can have one, too. As long as there are people in the world who seek to work violence, at any level, there will be guns or whatever replaces guns in the future.

Guns made in the 19th Century after the development of metallic cartridges and smokeless power are capable of chambering and firing ammunition made today. In my collection, I have a Colt revolver made in 1937. It works just fine. Properly stored ammunition from World War II still works.

People say the United States has a gun culture. If we do, it’s a shadow of its former self. I grew up in the years following World War II. We lived on a Marine airbase during the Korean War when my Dad was recalled to service.

Guns were available in many stores, from Woolworth’s to Sears and Montgomery Ward. Western Auto sold guns.

The U.S. government was in the process of unloading literally millions of surplus M1 Garand rifles, M1 carbines, and M1911 pistols at bargain prices. A person could walk into a variety store in my hometown and buy a fully functional, semi-automatic battle rifle for $25-$30. In most states, the transaction was simple: walk into the store; select the gun you wished; pay at the cashier; and walk out with your new (to you, at least) high-powered rifle.

Add to those all the hunting rifles and shotguns and the weapons millions of sevicemen brought back from Europe and the Pacific.

You could order guns by mail and the postman would bring them to your house or leave them in your mailbox if the package was small enough. There were ads in the backs of many popular magazines.

The majority of American homes had at least one firearm. During hunting season, high school students would bring their rifles to school because their father was going to pick them up at the end of the day to head for the lease.

In 32 states, it was perfectly legal to openly carry a handgun without any sort of permit (still is).

The first real school shooting in my lifetime happened in 1966, the month before I turned 17. It was at the University of Texas. In fact, from the year I was born until 1966, there were two mass shootings. Howard Unruh’s walk around Camden, New Jersey in 1949; the other was Charles Starkweather’s two-state killing spree in 1957. Unruh died in a mental hospital; Starkweather died in the electric chair.

By the time of the University of Texas shooting, the Colt AR-15 had been on the market for two years.

So the guns have been there, arguably in greater concentrations, but the mass shootings and school shootings haven’t. Guns were also more easily obtained, even by teenagers without their parents in most states.

Therein lies the problem with gun control being an answer to school shootings.There doesn’t seem to be a link between the two.

The most recent school shooting was in a state that has the toughest gun control laws in the United States.

To be really honest, there is no incentive to disarm so I am pretty sure we won’t. Actually, I am very sure we won’t.

Professional writer. Passionately interested in facts. Founder of onewordtexas.org

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