“No Way to Prevent This,” says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens – The Onion
On my infrequent posts on Facebook, I get mostly kind, thoughtful reactions, which are much appreciated. For this missive, I sincerely wish no responses or rebuttal. I’ll explain why in the body of this text.
Shortly before 3 pm on Valentine’s Day, a family member told me there was an alert on her computer: “Active Shooter at Parkland School.”
My 5-year-old daughter attends Parkland Academy, where she was at that moment. You can imagine my thoughts in the few seconds it took me to Google this info and see, with some relief, that the shooter was at the local high school, about one mile away from my daughter. Marjory Stoneman High School has nearly 3,000 students, and the school is located in statistically the safest city in Florida and the 15th safest in the United States. I live in Coral Springs, in an area bordering Parkland. The high school is four blocks from my home. My daughter will eventually attend classes there.
The news that we all now know trickled in as I watched the multiple helicopters hover in the area and saw ambulances and police race through the neighborhood the rest of the day and evening. I went to dinner that evening with my daughter, she blissfully unaware of the carnage just a few minutes away. Some day – soon – I am going to have to explain these massacres to her. Because they will continue.
I rarely watch the news anymore, as “news” on major networks nowadays are political hacks talking at each other, backing up their righteousness with exaggerations, “alternative facts’ and outright lies. But this was my neighborhood – I wanted to know what had happened and what was going to happen.
Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi arrived in Parkland within hours. At a press conference outside the school, an emotional Scott spoke, his voice cracking several times. He promised action, without specifics. Bondi followed up with an odd statement that she would insure that local funeral homes would not gouge the family of the victims. I’m not sure how more disconnected she could have been from this mass killing. It’s safe to say the last thing on the victim’s families minds’ were how to protect themselves from being over-charged by funeral homes. What the state’s highest law enforcement officer could have addressed was how she planned to protect families from having their children murdered in their own schools.
Rob Runcie, the county school superintendent, also spoke. Flanked by Bondi and Scott, he profusely thanked local law enforcement and medical staff, as well as Bondi and Scott for their presence and support. He echoed Scott’s statement about improving mental health evaluations of troubled citizens. Bondi and Scott nodded throughout his statement. And then, he added, “Now is the time for this country to have a sensible conversation about gun control.” Bondi’s head stopped nodding. She turned her head away from Runcie and glanced down. Scott’s chin went to his chest while his left hand went to his face – he obviously did not want cameras to catch his reaction. And I realized at that moment what the state of Florida was going to do about this.
Twenty months ago, Bondi and Scott were in Orlando, facing the press after a gunman armed with an assault rifle shot 107 people in a night club, killing 49. Scott promised action. He did hire some 30 “terrorism” experts, as he considered the Pulse gunman a terrorist. There were no hires regarding mental health issues, despite the fact the shooter was a licensed security guard who had passed a state mental exam. Democrats introduced 23 bills regarding current gun laws. None made it to a vote.
In Coral Springs, a reporter asked Scott the following question: “Why in the state of Florida could this teenager (the killer) not legally buy a can of beer, but legally purchase an assault rifle?”
Scott’s response; “That’s a question we’ll have to look at.” Indeed.
Because even if the state cracks down on people with mental health issues purchasing guns, this kid would still have been able to legally buy his assault weapon. He was never deemed to have mental health issues. He was expelled from school because of fighting, not because of threats. He fit the stereotypical young American spree killer: weird, a loner. It’s not illegal to be odd and lonely.
And he certainly didn’t break the law by owning multiple assault weapons and “countless” ammunition magazines (source: Coral Springs police). You don’t need a permit or license to buy a gun in Florida. The state does not register the weapon itself. It doesn’t even license gun shops. A person can buy as many weapons as they want. An 18-year-old can buy an assault weapon as long as he or she is a US citizen and does not have a felony. There is no waiting period – when the shooter purchased the weapon he used at the high school (for $221), he was in and out of the store in less than 30 minutes.
We don’t have a problem in this country with school shootings. We have an epidemic.
In America the past four years, there have been 239 school shootings (source: Gun Violence, an unaffiliated nonprofit). These only include shootings where at least one student or teacher was actually shot. I don’t have the following statistic, but I imagine you can combine ALL of the first-world industrialized nations during this same time frame, and the number of school shootings won’t approach 239.
Which brings me to my opening request of no comments. After watching hours of news, I went online to read local reports. And was sickened by the numerous postings. The gunman is a communist (he isn’t). The gunman is a member of ANTIFA (he isn’t). The gunman is a registered Democrat (he isn’t and didn’t vote). This was Trump’s fault. Obama’s. Even Hillary Clinton’s. People who want gun control are “pussies.”
Keep your eye on the ball. Children were murdered. It touched everyone in my neighborhood, many directly. My ex-wife called me that night. She was at the hospital. A co-worker was there with her 16-year-old daughter, a student at Stoneman Douglas. She was uninjured, luckily so. The gunman had entered her class and opened fire. As she cowered behind a desk, she saw her girlfriend, a few feet away, doing the same. Her head then “exploded” (her word). Another girl was shot in the chest and when SWAT finally cleared the room, that girl remained, laying in a pool of blood. The girl at the hospital was in shock.
Now is not the time for your self-important gleeful criticisms of people with different viewpoints. Now is the time for action. Action from citizens and voters. Ask your state and local representatives and school districts how they plan to protect your children. If your contribution is to simply criticize and insult those who want to stop this madness, do me a favor. Don’t post here. And go to hell.