Seven people are dead after a shooting in Nashville, Tennessee on Monday. The shooter, described as a 28 year old woman, was shot by police after the killing of three nine-year-old students attending the Covenant School and three adults, one of whom was the head of the school.
The usual thoughts and prayers have been offered from politicians and citizens. The United States leads the world in mass shootings, generally defined by an episode with four or more shooting victims, but definitions vary. So far this year, there’s been 133 mass shootings in the U.S. At this writing, this is the 86th day of the year. This means, on average, there are one or two mass shootings every day in the U.S.
I tuned into CNN, MS-NBC, and Fox News for a few minutes each after I first heard of this tragic event.
CNN did what CNN does best; it reported on the latest information available and it had a clip of the Nashville Police Chief giving an update on the shooting and the victims. MS-NBC had gathered their pundits together to comment on gun control or the lack thereof and the impact of active shooter drills on school children in light of mass shootings.
Then there’s Fox News. Fox likes to get into the nuts and bolts of any mass shooting. What exact weapon did the shooter carry? Were they having a mental breakdown? Why was there no armed guard posted at the entrance to the school? Why was the door to the school left unlocked? I’m not making this up.
So I’d like to answer some questions, since we’re asking questions.
Why was the door to the school left unlocked? It’s a Christian school attached to a church. Generally, churches are left unlocked as they are open, welcoming spaces. It’s not the janitor’s fault that this shooting occurred. Doors are left unlocked in many buildings open to the public.
Besides, in the Sandy Hook shooting, the door to the school was locked. The shooter simply shot out the door lock and entered the school. Fox News would say the doors should be reinforced. So the gunman will then bring a grenade, blow out the door, shoot the guard if they haven’t been killed in the explosion and enter the school. Everything just escalates.
Why do schools need armed guards? Because everyone has a gun? If everyone has a gun, then an armed guard isn’t going to do much good. It then becomes the OK Corral. Who gets their gun out first and kills first? My money is on the active shooter, not the retired cop guarding the school.
One Fox commentator said that the Nashville shooter was "pure evil". Okay, let’s go with evil. Was she evil? Does being evil somehow make it more acceptable that this could happen? Was it evil that she was able to possess a gun? No, that’s the norm in the U.S. Was it evil that she had possibly two automatic weapons and a hand held sidearm? No, that’s normal too. Was she mentally deranged for killing people? Is it evil that she killed six people? As the statistics on mass shootings in the U.S. would indicate, this is perfectly normal behaviour. If it wasn’t, there would be something done about it. Isn’t the mass killing of people normal? Nothing was done after Sandy Hook. Nothing was done after Parkland. Nothing was done after Uvade. This is normal, people. Nothing to really see here. Let’s say our prayers and move along.
What do Sandy Hook, Parkland, Uvalde and Nashville shootings all have in common? Children are involved. There were 132 other mass shooting in the U.S. so far this year. One or two made the national news. But killing children is more tragic in the news cycle. More hand wringing. More evil.
Mental illness seems to give gunmen a pass for mass shootings. Here's a sample argument for no gun control: “You have to be sick to kill children. Normal people would never kill children. Normal people who own guns aren’t sick. So no gun control is needed.”
Don't get me wrong. Every shooting is a tragedy. I can't imagine what the families of the victims are going through, and I hope I never do. The real crime is that the U.S. has been inured to these events as business as usual.
I heard a segment from a Netflix special featuring Jim Jefferies. He’s a stand-up comedian who has been outspoken about the lack of gun control in the U.S. Because of this, he gets a lot of hate mail, mainly from the United States. When there’s a mass shooting in the U.S. that has gotten a lot of publicity, he gets almost no hate mail.
Jim Jefferies’ mailbag will be a lot lighter this week.
Our sunsets are back.