LONG SHOT

LONG SHOT

Adrienne BoettingerFriday,5 April 2013

The Snap:

It’s almost 4 months since the school shooting that claimed the lives of 20 children and 6 adults. Whatever political will there was to do something at the federal level dissipated faster than the time between the inauguration and the start of the 2016 campaign season. Some, like Examiner columnist Gene Healy, argue we shouldn’t let the feelings spurred by Newtown lead to “unwise” gun laws. After all, school shootings are so rare that a school can only expect one every 6,000 years. I think neither the odds of a mass shooting nor the emotions brought up by Sandy Hook are reasons not to legislate.

The Download:

First up: the idea that emotions shouldn’t factor into legislation. Right after the shooting, people were afraid for their children and I really can’t blame them. In those first days and weeks it seemed impossible to think Congress wouldn’t attempt to do something other than call for moments of silence. Even conservative politicians talked about the need to discuss gun control.

That was the moment. When emotions were high, far more of the country was invested in the discussion. People talked about what could be done and some groups with differing viewpoints tried to find common ground. Now, public outrage and fear have died down and the 2 groups still talking are those who’d rather shoot off their own arms than give up their assault weapons and those who want to march into people’s homes and take every bullet. As I feared back in December, the NRA has done everything it can to stop meaningful discussion and the only thing the Democrats have done is to put forth legislation they know has no earthly chance of passing.

With its glacial bureaucratic pace, there should have been no worries that Congress would act too quickly. The concern should have always been whether our lawmakers would act at all.

Next up: the idea that school shootings are rare and neighborhood schools are the safest place to be. Sure, most schools will thankfully never know the horror of Sandy Hook. You know what else is rare? The odds of winning the Powerball. The odds for the Powerball are worse than 1 in 175.2 million. That didn’t stop people from buying 130,000 tickets per MINUTE just before the drawing last November.

Some things, like the idea of winning the lottery, are so powerful and life-changing that you play even though you know you stand a better chance of being struck by lightning while attacked by a shark and sinking a hole in one.  Some things like a school shooting are so powerful and life-changing that even though the odds that a child will die in school are 1 in 1 million, you do something, be it limits to magazine size so fewer people die, or background checks so that it isn’t easier to get a gun than it is to buy antihistamines.

Hat Tips:

CNN, Washington Examiner, NPR, Daily Mail, State Impact, Image Credit: Flickr

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  1. […] Australia’s response to a tragic mass shooting to find a way to control guns in their country and America’s response to a tragic mass shooting was to buy more guns and recommend turning schools into militarized […]

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