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    Two Visions of America by Don Jans

    In Light Of The Recent School Shooting In Texas, How Do We Best Protect Children?

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    by Larry Sand

    In the aftermath of the school shooting in Uvalde, TX, the media were filled with opinions and accusations about what was behind the tragic deaths of 19 school children and two teachers: lack of religion, fatherlessness, a mental health crisis, video games, the culture in general, the cops screwed up, etc.

    While there may be some truth to all the above, there is one prevailing reason coming from the left: our gun laws need a vast overhaul and we need fewer available firearms. Not surprisingly, the teachers unions are front and center in the gun-grab crowd. The annual NRA convention, held in Houston just days after the shooting, drew national teacher union leaders and their minions like flies to a sugar bowl. While many believe that one important way to protect children is to arm teachers, the unionistas reject this idea emphatically, claiming that putting guns in teachers’ hands “makes schools more dangerous.

    On a similar note, American Federation of Teachers Randi Weingarten, a leading Karen of the “do-something” crowd, insists that guns are the problem. She took a group and protested outside Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s office and screeched, “Schools are supposed to be safe and welcoming places. There’s no amount of hardening you’re going to be able to do if an 18-year-old comes in with an AR-15, shooting 300 bullets a minute, and is wearing body armor.”

    One of the stranger do-something ideas comes to us via The Atlantic, where senior editor Gal Beckerman asserts, “Students Should Refuse to Go Back to School” until gun laws change. “He writes that families should take the summer to “organize locally, build a set of national demands, and then refuse to go back to school in the fall until Congress does something.” Whatever that “something” is, it won’t change the fact that we live in a country that – for better or worse – now has more guns than people, and criminals will always find a way to get their hands on them.

    Listening to the anti-gunners’ post-tragedy comments brings to mind the century-old adage, “Truth is the first casualty in war.” There has been a pile of nonsense written since the shooting. First, Randi Weingarten’s above statement is typical of the fallacies, as the union boss seems clueless that an AR-15 is a semiautomatic gun, which requires its user to pull the trigger each time a bullet is to be discharged. Firing 300 rounds a minute? Hardly.

    Worse, Education Week is reporting that there have been 27 school shootings this year. This gasp-worthy news has been picked up by NPR and other news outlets around the country. But as Reason’s Robby Soave notes, “The problem here is that three very differently defined terms are being used somewhat incautiously and interchangeably: school shooting, mass shooting, and mass school shooting. Uvalde was a mass school shooting; the 26 previous tragedies at schools this year were not.” For example, a 16-year-old student was shot and injured outside of a school after a basketball game.

    Soave goes on to cite a study conducted by criminologists for Scientific American, where only incidents that resulted in at least four deaths are included. They find that there have been 13 mass school shootings taking the lives of 146 people in the U.S. since 1966.

    Along the same lines, “There is not an epidemic of mass shootings,” asserts James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University who has been tracking these events for decades and helps keep the AP/USA Today/Northeastern Mass Killing database. He adds, “What’s increasing and is out of control is the epidemic of fear.”

    Fox also notes that the “annual odds that an American child will die in a mass shooting at school are nearly 10 million to 1, about the odds of being killed by lightning or of dying in an earthquake.”

    Also, to put things into perspective, 1,053 children 14 and younger were killed in traffic accidents in the U.S. in 2019. And, as the CDC reports, fatal drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury death behind motor vehicle crashes for children ages 1–14.

    But no matter how unlikely the odds of a school shooting, children will go to school tomorrow, and we do need to make sure they are adequately protected. There are several reasonably simple steps we can take to lower the odds of another school shooting.

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