Yahoo! News has obtained an FBI study scheduled for release next week that shows what many of us have suspected has been happening: mass shootings are on the rise. The Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center at Texas State University, for purposes of this report, define mass shootings “as incidents where a gunman opens fire in a public place with the motivation of killing many, at least one of whom is ‘unrelated’ to the gunman.” They did not include bank robberies, drug deals, gang violence, or any crimes where shooting is a byproduct. The information will be used to shape police response to reports of an active shooting. Of course, if guns weren’t so easily available, there would be fewer mass shootings to which to respond.
Since 2008, mass shootings have tripled from about five per year to about sixteen. If that doesn’t scare you, it should. It means that about every three weeks, someone, somewhere in the US, for some reason, is going to take a gun and open fire on a bunch of strangers who did nothing but be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Have you ever known a mass shooter? Probably not, which means the next one is also likely to be a stranger to you, and you to him. So if we don’t do something about the prevalence of mass shootings, you could be one of the next victims.
“According to the new study, patrol officers, who are usually the first on the scene, had to use force to stop the gunman in nearly a third of the attacks.” This may seem wrong, at first blush, if you are familiar with the Mother Jones report that showed that no “good guy with a gun stopped the bad guy with a gun.” But there is no inconsistency. The standards for which shootings got chosen for the two studies were different.
There is no reason we have to put up with this. Every time one of these events occurs, the NRA is quick to say that it would be disrespectful to the victims to “politicize” their deaths to discuss the subject, and so we don’t. This is hypocrisy, of course, because politicizing the shootings is exactly what they’re doing when they say we shouldn’t discuss it. And since the next shooting is usually less than a month away, and the calls for silencing the debate once again being spewed from pro-gun media, the discussion ends up never taking place. And more people die needlessly. The Second Amendment needs to be repealed or completely re-written to be clearer. Nobody would deny that you have no constitutional right to own a thermonuclear weapon, so we must all agree that the 2nd Amendment, like all other constitutional rights, has limits. The discussion on what those limits are can wait no longer. Don’t you agree? Or do you enjoy watching small children die?