Three children and three adults are dead, gunned down in a Christian elementary school in Nashville by a human being who had no business possessing two assault-style rifles and a handgun.
“But, but, but…the Second Amendment,” some will scream, like a myopic, zombified Greek chorus.
Hang your Second Amendment. It’s Monday in America, there has been yet another school shooting. Children are dead. The students who weren’t shot are forever changed by the trauma, and plenty more people across the country will be killed by gunfire in the days to come because, as I wrote a few words earlier, it’s Monday in America, and we have a whole damn week to go.
Another school shooting, and you want me to hold back on my anger?
“Thoughts and prayers! Don’t politicize this!” the people will crow.
Nuts to that. The thoughts-and-prayers, it’s-too-soon-to-talk-about-it ship sailed several hundred mass shootings ago. I’m mad now.
And I’m not waiting for permission to tweet or write or holler about how reckless, how ridiculous, how bloody twisted it is that we inhabit a country where people treat the tool used to murder other people in schools, in churches, in malls, at concerts, in movie theaters, on street corners and in their homes as a sacred possession that must not be regulated, that should be protected as an icon of America, like a bald eagle that spits lead.
The Nashville school shooting doesn’t happen without the guns
Now the chorus is really riled: “You can’t blame the guns!”
Like hell, I can’t.
This latest alleged school shooter is a 28-year-old from Nashville who police say had the two rifles and the handgun, entered the Covenant School and, in short order, shot and killed three little kids and three adults before being shot to death by officers.
Do I blame the shooter? Of course I do. But if there’s one thing I’ve noticed about shootings in America, one unmistakable through-line, it’s the presence of one or more guns. Absent the guns that so many states have made easy-as-pie to get, these shootings would be distinctly different, in that they wouldn’t be shootings.
C’mon, America. It’s time to admit you have a gun problem
“Oh, if it wasn’t a gun the killer would just use a knife or something else,” the chorus moans.
FINE! I’m happy to take that chance. A knife isn’t going to do near the same damage as a pair of AR-15s in the hands of a violent person. And also: What kind of dumb argument is that? That’s like saying, “Well, I’m not going to baby-proof these electrical outlets because my toddler could just was easily get electrocuted by walking outside and holding a metal pole in a lightning storm.”
Maybe — just maybe — it’s time to admit the reason this daily carnage is happening in our schools and in virtually every imaginable space in America is because we treat guns with more reverence than we treat our fellow human’s right to keep living.
The GOP’s reverence to guns is why nothing ever changes
Republican lawmakers continue to fight with gusto to eliminate every reasonable restriction on buying and carrying firearms, including in Tennessee where this most recent mass shooting happened. Republicans in the state have proposed expanding the concealed carry law to allow rifles rather than just handguns.
Want fewer shootings?:Pass tougher gun laws. Our research shows lax laws fuel violence.
Meanwhile, they’re working hard to restrict things they say are harmful to children, like drag shows. Earlier this month, Tennessee became the first state to restrict public drag shows.
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s response to the Nashville school shooting? She tweeted: “How many more children have to murdered before Democrats will agree to protect children at schools the same way good guys with guns protect the President and others?” Yes. Battle-ready teachers are for sure the answer.
Republican Sen. Rick Scott tweeted: “We need to consider an automatic death penalty for school shooters. Life in prison is not enough for the deranged monsters who go into our schools to kill innocent kids & educators.” The Nashville shooter was shot and killed by police, Senator Einstein. What are you going to do, kill her twice?
If the Republican Party addressed gun violence with a third the energy it puts into battling “wokeness,” we might be able to make progress. But they won’t, and we won’t, at least not until people start caring enough about avoidable tragedies like the Covenant School shooting to vote for people who will end this madness.
We’ll learn more in the days to come about why a person decided to open fire in an elementary school in Nashville. But we already know enough, from this horrific scene and all those that came before it, to place the blame.
“Don’t you jump to conclusions!” the chorus wails.
Nah. It’s not even a jump. It’s the guns. It has always been the guns. And until we treat them like the deadly tools we know they are, it will always be the guns.
More from Rex Huppke: