It likely will happen again

To the editor:

After sending their children off to school, the most important aspect for any parent is them returning home safely. With the epidemic of shootings occurring at America’s schools, too many parents face the reality of not seeing their child again. With the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the attention has turned to the predictable debate about restricting firearms. Focusing solely on gun control is not likely to reverse the trend of gun violence that has invaded our schools and leaves our children vulnerable because other factors that contribute to these shootings are ignored in the heated exchange over the Second Amendment.

Research available at schoolshootingdatabase.com has unveiled that during the assault weapons ban from 1994-2004 there were 20 mass shootings at American schools. During the next 10 years after the legislation expired, 22 mass school shootings occurred. So, what did the ban actually achieve? I don’t doubt the sincerity of people demanding gun control legislation, but, I do question their logic. The AR-15 is described as the “weapon of choice” for school shooters, but, the rifle most frequently used in school shootings is a .22 caliber. Handguns are the actual weapon of choice of these shooters but there are no calls to ban pistols.

Gun legislation doesn’t explore the multiple complexities that contribute to the climate favorable to a school shooting. School shootings are too complex to blame on an inanimate piece of metal that only discharges with human intention. Legislative action also unjustly strips away gun rights, a civil right in this country, from law-abiding citizens and doesn’t address root causes of why the shooter wanted to shoot somebody. A knee-jerk solution to a long standing problem is not where the answer is hidden. Focusing on a single contributing factor, such as the gun, is not an accurate way of determining why these shootings happen or to prevent them in the future. The only way to do that is multi-disciplinary empirical research.

Wouldn’t shaping real strategies about America’s mass shooting epidemic begin with analyzing quality research instead of crafting emotional legislation in a hasty manner? Without empirical data to back up legislation on restricting so-called assault rifles, how can we feel confident that gun control legislation is the correct policy decision to combat the rising frequency of mass shootings that have plagued our schools? It’s past time to explore other ideas that contribute to the rising frequency of school shootings other than the misguided narratives currently out there.

What’s scary is that no one in the media had the intellectual curiosity to initiate an exhaustive quantitative study of school shootings, especially since the extensive news coverage they receive. Even more alarming is the systemic failures of local, state, and federal government, the school system, mental health experts and big tech companies. With so many missed warning signs, a freeze on gun violence research and no accountability for mistakes made, how can we expect it not to happen again?

Eric Laurine



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