Time for some tough love. Not for your daughter; for you.
Why are you, your daughter, and your husband scared?
You have been victimized. Not by the shooters; not by the NRA; not by the gun industry, or the Republican, or any other, party.
By zealots with an agenda they have been pushing for the past thirty years.
By numbers-driven media dedicated to that old journalistic standard: If it bleeds; it leads.
Hysteria is good. People panic; get upset; look for anything that looks like a lifeline — even if it isn’t.
Most important, people don’t question anything. “Commonsense” solutions are offered and nobody asks whether they actually are common sense or even if they make any sense at all.
I want you to try the “Lanza Test.”
It’s quite simple: Would any of the currently proposed laws have prevented or mitigated the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School?
You will find the answer is “No.”
Not background checks; not bans on certain firearms; not restrictions on magazine capacities, and not red flag laws.
- Lanza never had to submit to a background check; his mother bought the guns.
- An assault weapons ban wouldn’t have been a challenge; Lanza was fairly familiar with guns and easily could have found suitable substitutes.
- Restricted-capacity magazine laws would not have helped; Lanza not only had spare magazines, but he also reloaded his magazines during the shooting.
- Lanza was never identified as a threat, so red flag laws wouldn’t have worked.
In fact, the Lanza Test can be used with any school shooting or mass shooting.
The idea of raising the age to purchase a firearm to 21 is a bit silly and a major case of overreaction.
The Colt AR-15 Sporter was introduced in November 1963. Since its debut, only one person under the age of 21 has ever legally purchased an AR-15 or a copy and gone on to use it in a mass shooting. That person is Nikolas Cruz.
In 1994, a 20-year-old airman named Dean Mellberg purchased a Norinco MAK-90, a Chinese copy of the AK-47 rifle, and used it in an attack on Fairchild Air Force Base.
There are an estimated 12.7 million young American adults ages 18, 19, and 20. How many have passed through those ages since late 1963? In more than a half-century, exactly two out of all those millions bought a military-style rifle and used it to commit mass murder.
In June 2104, Mark Glaze was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Glaze was formerly the executive director of Everytown for Gun Safety and Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Mr. Glaze was lamenting the lack of success at getting gun control laws passed made the following comment:
“Is it a messaging problem when a mass shooting happens and nothing we have to offer would have stopped that mass shooting? Sure, it’s a challenge in this issue.”
It’s still a challenge because it’s still true.
So what do you tell your daughter? What do you tell yourself and your husband?
Why not tell them (and yourself) the truth? Real school shootings are extremely rare. While the Center for Home Defense and Security said there were 95 school shootings in 2018, their numbers are somewhat inflated by an extremely loose definition of what is a school shooting.
Their data includes police chasing a bank robber onto a high school football field, a shooting that actually took place at a fast-food restaurant across the street from a school, a few cases of bodies being discovered on school grounds, domestic disputes between adults, a murder committed by a school janitor and a double homicide committed by a worker at a school construction site.
Schools are safe. Statistically, your daughter is safer in school than she is at home with you. According to the data from the CHDS and information from the FBI, children are ten times more likely to be murdered by their own parents than they are to die at the hands of a school shooter. (You needn’t share that with your daughter; the idea is to make her feel safer.)
In fact, your daughter is probably safer at school than she is anywhere else. An examination of the incidents reported at elementary schools showed only two that involved students and both of those were students who smuggled guns into school; were showing them off in bathrooms, and accidentally discharged them.
At no time in 2018 were elementary schools in danger from a killer like Adam Lanza. In fact, as far as I can tell, no elementary school has been threatened by someone like Adam Lanza since Lanza himself entered Sandy Hook Elementary in December 2012.
You and your husband should talk to the administrators at your daughter’s school or attend a board meeting of the school district. Ask questions about the security of those schools. The better informed you are, the better prepared you will be to talk to your daughter and reassure her that the grown-ups are doing everything they can to make sure she is safe every single day.
It also doesn’t hurt to let school administrators and the school board know you are watching.
After the Parkland shooting, a great hue and cry went up for more gun control. However, when the Florida state commission created to investigate the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School released its initial findings, there wasn’t a word about gun control in its recommendations.
The commission determined that, while Nikolas Cruz was responsible for the murders and injuries, the school district, the school administration, and the law enforcement agency responsible for police service in the town and the school resource officers had enabled Cruz to get into the school and carry out his plan almost entirely without interference.
Numerous warning signs were ignored and even the FBI dropped the ball twice on tips it received.
The Parkland shooting happened because the people in charge practically rolled out the red carpet for Nikolas Cruz.
My wife and I put four children the K-12 public schools. We now have four grandchildren in K-12 public schools. We live about 60 miles from Santa Fe, Texas and the high school where Dimitrios Pagourtiz murdered 10 people and wounded 12 more, including a school district police officer.
None of the commonsense gun laws would have stopped Pagourtzis, either.
Don’t buy into the hysteria, no matter how tempting. Go the extra mile to become informed.
Your daughter is certainly worth it.