A cliché has arisen among those who are trying to politicize tragic school shootings like the one this week in Florida by blaming guns, Republicans, the NRA or the Second Amendment, that America is the “only place where this happens.” Just five minutes on Wikipedia turned up this, from a list of the top 15 deadliest school massacres in history:
Dunblane Primary School, Scotland (17 killed); Erfurt, Germany (16); Winnenden and Wendlingen, Germany (15); Montreal, Canada (14); Rio De Janeiro, Brazil (12); Baku, Azerbaijan (12); Shiguan, China (12); Volkhoven, West Germany (10); Kauhajoki, Finland (10).
In addition, the top 15 deadliest lone wolf attacks with religious connotations include only one in the US, the attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando (49 killed) at #3. The 15 worst workplace massacres have four in the US, including the Fort Hood shooting at #5, which might also be considered a religiously-motivated terrorist attack. And this doesn’t even get into mass casualty attacks involving other weapons, such as the shrapnel bombs at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, that killed 23 and injured 500.
None of this is to downplay the tragedy or horror of these obscene attacks, just to point out that it’s ludicrous to think that if only America had more gun laws, it would prevent everyone bent on mass murder from finding a way to do it. There are any number of weapons that can kill, and any number of sick people able to obtain them, even in countries with strict anti-gun laws. The root cause is the nihilistic mentality of the shooters. If we’re ever going to stop reliving this nightmare over and over, we have to do a better job of identifying and countering that, and become more realistic about providing security at the places they target.
In Florida, the shooter was known to be a threat by teachers, administrators, classmates and anyone who saw his disturbing social media posts. He might as well have been waving a red flag reading “Potential mass killer.” Yet only one person called the FBI, to report a threatening YouTube vide comment left under his name. The FBI had his unique name but say they couldn’t verify it was him (are they seriously claiming that a web search of that name – whether his own or an identical one – didn’t lead them to his scary Instagram posts, from which they should have realized they needed to pay him a visit?)
The attempt to use these dead and wounded children, and the heroic adults who shielded them, as tools to promote a political agenda is reprehensible. I could make an equally strong case that such conscienceless atrocities stem from the fact that kids are no longer taught respect for the sanctity of life, that there is something bigger than themselves, or that violent actions have devastating, real-world consequences; and demand a return of prayer in schools along with new laws limiting abortion, violent video games and social media for minors. I do believe that those actions would be far more effective than trying to ban certain guns. But I refuse to exploit the death of children to promote them.
The lack of respect for human life is a growing problem worldwide, and it’s the real reason why this does NOT “only happen in America.” There are a lot of other bogus statistics being bandied about as well, and commentators such as Ben Shapiro and Steven Crowder have done an excellent job of explaining how they’ve been distorted. If you’d like a quick primer in how figures lie and liars figure, click the link.