As I mentioned briefly last week, it has happened again. Another deranged shooter with a military-style weapon and a mountain of ammunition. This time the target was a high school campus in Florida; last time it was somewhere else that didn't expect it. The young people who emerged in one piece from that atrocity have demonstrated an emotional and intellectual maturity, an eloquence, and a remarkable facility for organizing that puts us all to shame. When I see them, I hang my head - we, the older generations, simply are not good. Let them take the reins.
Our cheese-headed president had some of them over on Wednesday, along with survivors of other mass shootings, for a "listening session". What has Trump taken away from this heinous remake of previous atrocities? Well, he is telling Beauregard to look into banning bump stocks, again. That is something the Justice Department has been working on for months, since the Las Vegas massacre. The problem is that the administration is probably barred from doing so without action by the Congress, so Trump's NRA patrons can rest easy. He also suggested arming teachers, janitorial staff, and, I believe, students, claiming that that Gym teacher could have ended the whole shooting rampage if he had had a gun.
Okay, well ... I may be the only American to remember this (I hope not), but back in the seventies, this latter suggestion was put forward as a joke on All In The Family - the right-wing caricature Archie Bunker was invited to do a guest editorial on television, and he advocated stopping airline hijackers by arming all the passengers. What was a joke in 1972 is now consider a serious policy proposal. That's how far we've come, people. And this is how far political leaders will go to avoid dealing with an issue. The money is all on one side, and our kids are on the other. If we leave the decision to our current crop of politicians, the kids don't stand a chance.
Sure, there are something like 10 to 15 million AR-15 style weapons in the United States. That doesn't mean we can't do something about this. First thing is to stop selling them. Second, in my opinion, you should be required to register military assault-style weapons and handle it in an appropriate way (i.e. lock it up at appropriate times). If you don't register it, you can't keep it. They are simply too destructive to treat like a 30-30 hunting rifle. Third: extensive background checks for all gun purchases (since Trump loves the concept of "extreme vetting," this shouldn't be a problem for him). Fourth, no more high-capacity clips and new limits on ammunition sales.
That's where we need to go if we're serious about protecting kids. Up to us, people. Elect a Congress and a president that will do it.