By John Micek
Families in Michigan will set an empty place at the table this holiday season in the wake of the mass shooting at Oxford High School in southeast Michigan that left four children dead and seven more injured.
The deaths at Oxford this week came a little more than two weeks before the ninth anniversary of the Dec. 14, 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children dead, and officially marked the start of our national acceptance of sacrificing innocents on the false altar of gun rights.
After every one of these shootings, we ask ourselves: How could this happen again? When the actual question we should be asking ourselves is why doesn’t this happen with more horrifying frequency than it already does? And it is our national shame that we have become as accepting of it as we have.
And after a lull during the pandemic, school shootings are once again on the rise, the New York Times reported, citing reporting by Education Week. There have been 28 school shootings resulting in injury and death so far this year, with 20 reported since Aug. 1.
*The teenaged shooter in the Michigan case, his name won’t be printed here, has been charged as an adult on multiple counts that include terrorism and first-degree murder. On Friday, prosecutors charged the accused shooter’s parents with involuntary manslaughter, alleging they were criminally negligent, “and contributed to a dangerous situation that resulted in the deaths” of the four teens, CNN reported. The accused shooter’s father bought the weapon allegedly used in the rampage on Black Friday, according to published reports.
It may be some time before we know how the 15-year-old accused shooter obtained the 9mm Sig Sauer SP2022 semi-automatic his father purchased on Black Friday, as the Post observed.
It may take equally as long to learn why he allegedly went on a homicidal spree that saw him shoot people “at close range, oftentimes toward the head or chest,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard told CNN’s New Day program, according to The Guardian.
“It’s just absolutely cold-hearted, murderous,” Bouchard said, according to the Post.
But as a trio of public health experts wrote earlier this week, gun sales have shot up during the pandemic, often landing in homes with teenage children. Combine that prevalence with lax storage practices, and it creates the perfect storm of circumstances under which these tragedies can unfold.
“One clear action that parents can take to help reduce the likelihood of future tragic school shootings and to keep their teens safe is to ensure any firearms present in the home are secured safely, locked up and unloaded, and out of reach of teens,” Patrick Carter and Marc A. Zimmerman, of the University of Michigan, and Rebeccah Sokol, of Detroit-based Wayne State University, wrote in an analysis this week published by The Conversation.
Making sure that happens requires both legislative action and increased vigilance by gun owners.
According to the Giffords Law Center, more than half of all gun owners store at least one gun unsafely without any locks or other safe storage measures. And nearly a quarter of all gun owners have reported storing all their guns in an unlocked location in their homes, according to the Giffords Law Center.
That lax security is fueling both an epidemic of gun thefts and the tragic shattering of lives that comes from unintentional shootings, deaths by suicide, and school shootings. According to the Giffords Law Center, between 70 percent and 90 percent of all guns used in those tragic circumstances “are acquired from the home or the homes of relatives or friends.”
Despite legislative resistance to such common sense gun safety laws as requiring gun owners to report lost and stolen weapons, the imposition of universal background checks, or mandated safe storage practices, polling shows public support for them.
Fifty-three percent of Americans said they favor stricter gun laws, according to the Pew Research Center, with broad partisan agreement on such policies as preventing those with mental illness from purchasing a gun. Majorities in both parties also oppose allowing people to carry concealed firearms without a permit, according to Pew.
On Thursday, Gov. Tom Wolf wisely vetoed a bill that would have allowed most people to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.
In Michigan this week, the young people impacted by these shootings said they’d grown tired of the “thoughts and prayers” inevitably offered in the wake of the tragedies, and expected real action from policymakers.
“We don’t have a moment to wait for action,” Megan Dombrowski, a Wayne State University political science student who founded a campus chapter of the anti-gun violence group Students Demand Action, told the Michigan Advance, a sibling site of the Capital-Star.
These moments for action have come and gone after every mass shooting, from Parkland and Sandy Hook to Pulse and Virginia Tech, America has grown appallingly numb to the needless and avoidable deaths of its young people
Lawmakers who refuse to act should be required to personally explain their inaction to the families of the dead. It is hard to see any other way for that cold-hearted resistance to crumble.
The column was originally published by the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, an affiliate of the nonprofit States Newsroom, which includes the Florida Phoenix.
Here we go, “We need stricter gun laws”. No, the government doesn’t enforce the gun laws we have now, so what are new, stricter gun laws going to do? Do you think that guns aren’t being sold on the black market? Do you think criminals will no longer have access to guns? Smh maybe they should allow armed officers back in the schools and stop putting signs up that read, “gun free school zone”.
Maybe we need stricter parent laws!
We need stricter auto laws too, because people are dying in car accidents and getting run down and killed while at a parade. Or are we not allowed to discuss that because it doesn’t fit your narrative?
Why do we need new laws for this ? Isn’t it it already illegal to shoot or kill people?
We value guns over children’s lives, plain & simple. The debate ended after Sandy Hook. And it’s not political – these shootings have been happening no matter who is running this country.
That’s a stretch. Until you’ve had a home invasion with gun play a few houses away from you. lumping any mass shooting at a school is disingenuous. This particular invasion down the street was an adult felon and 2 teens of the same age as the Crumbley kid in Michigan, they looked for a 4th criminal, not sure they ever found him or anyone rolled over on him. My feeling is that some of these people are going to be criminals regardless of gun sales or whatever else anyone puts in place to influence that they remain law abiding citizens. Virtually every legal gun owner I know, plays by the rules. I see the neighbors that violate ordinances. If they’ll violate ordinances, what are the chances they’ll violate other laws that are more serious criminal infractions ? The last thought on my mind buying a gun for self protection was using it against a law abiding citizen. I only own one because criminals do. It’s even an inconvenience to go to a gun range to shoot it periodically. Unfortunately, the world isn’t a wonderful place with guarantees, so you have to do what you have to for survival. We have juveniles that own more & better arsenals than I can afford as an adult. I have a gun only because in the event I need FCSO over for that kind of an issue, I’m going to be on my own anyway until they get here. That risk will be there whether I own a gun or not. A lot can happen in 10-15 minutes until the authorities arrive and who knows what they face when they arrive. I wonder what the FCSO response time is for a 911 call of that variety ? I don’t even want to be involved as an accidental victim of others that can’t seem to play well with each other.
“Lawmakers who refuse to act should be required to personally explain their inaction to the families of the dead. It is hard to see any other way for that cold-hearted resistance to crumble.”
Between Covid, mass shootings, racial disparities, immigration issues, and just plain social inequality – all of which can and have caused deaths – following the above statement and having to explain their inaction would keep any lawmaker or legislator with a conscience very very busy for 25 hrs/day.
Fortunatey for them, most of them have no conscience, and they can get on with their career enrichment, instead of their jobs.
Obviously politicians can’t do the job. Why rely on politicians to solve the problem? How about we parent like they should be parented?
James M. Mejuto says
Nothing will happen, folks until we get money out of politics. You know it and I know it but yet our
‘intelligent’ electorate fails to understand or protest in public. “Our thoughts and in our prayers “. . . YEAH ? ? ?
This will continue and continue and continue until we, the people elect politicians who answer to their
electorate and legislate to outlaw organizations like the NRA and put the arms manufacturers out of business !
Can you imagine what kind of Christmas those families will have to celebrate ?
MI is charging the parents with 4 counts of involuntary manslaughter on this one. That may reduce minors accessibility to firearms. Just as Kyle Rittenhouse is found not guilty and that seems to be a win for the AR rifle types, The Crumbley kid is a mass shooting loss event for owning any type of gun. Even BB guns are a relative problem as kids are shooting each other or at least threatening each other with them. So here we go again, this will be an expensive court case that ruins more lives, leaves it up to a jury to determine the fate of 3 people to make hard decisions, a 15 year old & his parents. Looks like motive would be about the only difference with Rittenhouse (self defense) vs Crumbley (mass shooting for whatever reasons stated or unknown).
How about we enforce the laws already enacted. How about we parent instead of acting like we are a parent?
Charlie Ericksen Jr says
One should /could ask a similar question of…… Why did we allow, locations to shut off police protection and crime fighting ( Seattle and large cities) ,.. What about the numerous smash/break-ins at jewelry and downtown stores… Letting , the bad guys, out without charges , no bonding out and spitting at the police ,,
Just who’s in charge ?? Luckily we have great protection in Flagler.. Other than an idiot hitting and killing a bicyclist , near the library, just a few days past… There are crooks and goofies aplenty ( including college professors out there confusing the next generation) … Beware!!
The Unvarnished Truth says
Why does the “Nation” care about four school kids being killed when 3-4 times that number are killed every week in certain communities? I NEVER hear anybody bloviating about the slaughter that occurs daily unless a cop or a white person does it. There was another “school shooting” that happened not long ago and all I heard were sympathy and excuses while intimating that “if someone says something you don’t like, it’s ok to spray the school up”.
There was another case of CLEAR “self-defense” in which the person was labeled and excoriated to the point people wanted to bring back the gallows, but MURDERERS are given “ankle monitors” or set free with a paltry bail. It’s all “narrative-based” and honestly a bit F****d up.
We don’t have a “gun problem”. MILLIONS of people own guns. We have a “criminal problem” in which people (especially woke white liberals) are reticent to address for fear of being canceled, being called a racist, or losing the votes of the puppets which they control the strings.
I have guns. They never seem to be “problematic” because I have no desire to point them at another person …unless you threaten me – then all bets are off