• Today
    June 20

  • 10:51 AM

Gun violence horse long bolted

CHARLES KNIGHTON,

Added 22 February 2018

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Though there were 17 killed and nine wounded at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Plantation, Florida, last Wednesday, every student there was a victim.

These kids have been through an experience ghastlier than most adults have ever survived. Minutes after they had made it to safety outside the school, cable, network and local TV crews were waiting to interview them live on camera.

Often flanked by their parents, boys and girls, some too young to see an R-rated movie described being hustled to safety as bullets whizzed by them as they stepped over and around the fallen bodies of their classmates.

It was arresting. It was heartbreaking. And it was rash, unnecessary and wrong. There is no good journalistic reason to put a child at a mass murder scene on live TV, permission of the parents or not.

As for the usual call for stricter gun laws, that horse has long since bolted the barn.

There are ways, of course, to make it at least marginally more difficult for the criminally minded, for the dangerously mentally ill and for the suicidal to buy guns and ammunition. But these gun control efforts, while noble, would only have a modest impact on the rate of gun violence in America. Why? Because it’s too late.

There are an estimated 300 million guns in private hands in America. This level of gun saturation has occurred not because the anti-gun lobby has been consistently outflanked by its adversaries in the National Rifle Association (NRA), though it has been.

Like many effective pressure groups, the NRA is powerful in good part because so many Americans are predisposed to agree with its basic message. There will be no end to such carnage anytime soon.

– CHARLES KNIGHTON

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