Will Nashville school shooting be just another gun massacre we accept?

Gun Rights

My phone buzzed with a news alert, which happens numerous times throughout the day.

This one, at 1:45 p.m. on Monday, was yet another mass shooting. My stomach turned queasy anticipating the details. I knew they would be horrifying — they always are. But I feared the worst…and as I read on, learning of the unthinkable deaths of three 9-year-old children at a Nashville elementary school, I was sickened.

Shaken and absorbed by the tragic news, I looked up from my phone and found myself, of all places, at my son’s elementary school.

I was there with other parents to watch his grade perform a jazz concert. I looked around at the other moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, smiling, laughing, chatting with each other — did they know the news? I hoped not.

You Might Like

As we waited for our kiddos to file into the common room and put on their show, I couldn’t wait to take my son home after his concert. I needed to hug him, hold him, and keep him safe. I got to do that yesterday. The parents of three children in Nashville didn’t. I can’t imagine their heartache.

As parents, it’s also our job to protect our kids. And the mom in me is frustrated, saddened, and terrified as that job becomes harder and harder in the face of so much violence — and complacency.

The data is conclusive: Mass shootings have surged over the past decade, up from 273 in 2014 to a nauseating 690 in 2021. This year, just a quarter of the way through, we are already at 131. This is appalling.

Gun-related deaths by suicide are up. Gun-related deaths by homicide are up. Last year, firearms replaced car accidents as the leading cause of death for children. How are we so willing to accept this menace to society?

As a law-abiding gun owner and former member of the National Rifle Association, I will be the first to say what many on the gun-rights side refuse to say: We have a gun problem. This is inarguable and obvious to anyone with a conscience and a calculator.

But I’m sad to say, the prevailing political factors are not favorable to tackling this issue, a scourge that affects every single American and our declining quality of life.

Who could be optimistic that lawmakers will make any significant changes to our gun laws, even changes a majority of Americans want? Things like universal background checks, raising the age minimum to buy an assault weapon, high capacity magazine bans, and stronger red flag laws have been a bridge too far.

While President Joe Biden is renewing calls for an assault weapon ban, that prospect is pure fantasy. Very few, if any, Republicans will cross the NRA or their voters to support it. And even many Democrats are afraid to go that far, still haunted by the memory of 1994, when the GOP picked up eight Senate seats and 54 House seats in the midterms, just two months after Democrats passed an assault weapon ban.

Then you have the phony cartoon conservatives on the far right, who will giddily and gleefully exploit this tragedy to push more of their bigoted culture-wars crap.

“How much hormones like testosterone and medication for mental illness was the transgender Nashville school shooter taking?” tweeted U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. “Everyone can stop blaming guns now.”

This embarrassing display of mouth-breathing ignorance aside, the right’s fetishization of guns over the past decade has turned assault weapons into political dog whistles and sacred cows, brandished proudly and, often, incongruously, as proof of their MAGA bonafides.

In 2021, U.S. Rep. Andy Ogles, R-Tenn., posted his family Christmas card, with them posing with rifles in front of a Christmas tree, to social media. Ogles’ Nashville district was the scene of the shooting.

Then, there’s the creep of complacency, which, counterintuitively, seems to grow with every mass shooting, not recede.

Take Republican Tennessee U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett, who told cameras on Monday that “we’re not gonna fix it.”

“My daddy fought in the Second World War, fought in the Pacific, fought the Japanese. And he told me, he said, ‘Buddy, if somebody wants to take you out and doesn’t mind losing their life, there’s not a whole heck of a lot you can do about it.’ ”

The idea that we just have to live with this is stomach-churning.

It’s also a deeply sad commentary on the collapse of American values. We can no longer solve problems? We’ll surrender to the terrorism of mass shooters? We’ll sacrifice our children on the altar of assault weapons?

There’s no life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness for the families of the Nashville shooting, nor the families of tens of thousands of victims of gun violence every year. And the rest of us just have to wait, knowing there will be another…and hope it’s not in our backyard.

S.E. Cupp is the host of “S.E. Cupp Unfiltered” on CNN.

The Sun-Times welcomes letters to the editor and op-eds. See our guidelines.

You Might Like

Articles You May Like

The 2024 GOP Platform Barely Mentions Gun Rights
The UN’s Circle of Life
UnchainedTV Partners with FAST Channels TV to Launch UnchainedTV Food & Lifestyle
U.S. grocery stores are installing Ammo vending machines
Abcarian: Why acknowledging gun violence crisis matters

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *