THOUGHTS AFTER TEXAS KILLINGS!
May 30th, 2022
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
THOUGHTS AFTER TEXAS KILLINGS!
If you have small children or grandchildren, it’s difficult to process how a deranged assassin could slaughter such innocent youngsters. Yet it has become a regular happening all over America. After each shooting, we hear cries of “not this, not ever again.” But what’s happening is that the unbearable has become routine.
First, a view of what occurred in Uvalde, Texas. It’s obvious the locals were unprepared. The shooter stood outside the school and fired shots at passersby for almost 15 minutes. Then he calmly strolled into the unlocked schoolhouse, barricaded himself in one classroom for over an hour, and proceeded unrestrained to kill 19 children and two teachers. So many troubling questions to ask about the dysfunctional response.
Why was it so easy to walk right into to the school and the classroom? Many Louisiana schools have a locked fence around the outside entrances. If a student is late arriving, they should be required to pass through a metal detector, and call in from the outside. Cameras should be well placed at each entrance so someone in the principal’s office can observe who wants to enter. An easy access phone line to local law enforcement officials needs to be readily available.
What about the local police response? Should not there have been bulletproof flack suits available so that so that a trained police officer could push right into the school building? And the locked classroom? There are small explosives available to blow the lock off the door. Why was the Uvalde police department not better prepared? It’s inexcusable that police officers waited for almost an hour before entering the school. They were woefully unqualified. Hopefully, this will be a wakeup call for small police departments all over America.
And what about the tepid response from members of Congress? Republicans continue to offer their thoughts and prayers. What a lame duck answer. The Democrats propose an unrealistic agenda that has no chance of being enacted into law. And whatever changes might eventually become law, it will take years to have any real effect. After all, our country has more guns than people, with an estimation of some 400 million guns in America today. Eighteen million guns were sold last year alone.
As an avid hunter, I’ve been a gun owner most of my life. Twenty assorted shotguns, rifles, and a few pistols were part of my collection until I turned them over to my son. But I never had or felt there was any justification owning an automatic weapon. I joined the army during the Vietnam era, and qualified as an expert marksman with an M 16. Guns like this with large capacity magazines are designed for one purpose of one purpose alone. To kill people. These assault rifles, that are being used time and time again in school killings, have no business being available to some 18-year-old punk who is nothing more than a domestic terrorist. Yet they are easily obtainable all over the country.
America today is become a country of violence. We allow our young people to start early with video games filled with mayhem that challenge the player to repeatedly kill. Our nation has been at war for most of our lives, with the evening news fill with death and destruction. Our military culture supplies weapons worldwide, and our top grossing motion pictures are filled with killing after killing.
American writer and scholar Henry Giroux sums up our culture this way.
“Mass shootings have become routine in the United States and speak to a society that relies on violence to feed the coffers of the merchants of death. Given the profits made by arms manufacturers, the defense industry, gun dealers and the lobbyists who represent them in Congress, it comes as no surprise that the culture of violence cannot be abstracted from either the culture of business or the corruption of politics.”
I hate to be a pessimist but I don’t look for consensus on any new solutions from our political leaders in the near future. We need to lock down our schools, protect our kids, and hope for some reasonable compromise that will be palatable to most Americans. But don’t count on it.
Peace and Justice
Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout the nation and on websites worldwide. You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at http://www.jimbrownusa.com. You can also look over a list of books he has published at www.thelisburnpress.com.