And we can’t put it back in there. In the wake of another school shooting, the predictable reactions from all sides have continued. The pro-gun people have pointed at the ghoulish media coverage of the events as the cause, and the anti-gun people have blamed easy access to firearms. Meanwhile, the majority of America forgot about it entirely because the royal wedding was on the next day, and these white kids weren’t rich with well connected parents.
Was that a little too cynical for you? Sorry, but the truth hurts. It’s been 11 years since the Virginia Tech shooting, and almost 19 years since Columbine. You know what we’ve done? Passed a ridiculous assault weapons ban that didn’t really ban anything, and written a bunch of hand-wringing editorials about how to “solve the school shooting problem.”
I’ve got sour news for you, Jack. There are two reasons you can’t “solve” school shootings. The first is that because there’s not one consistent thing that causes school shootings, and until we get a bunch of weird psychics floating in a pool of goo predicting all crime, we’ll always be reactionary in our response to violence. The second reason is a bit harsher and you’re not going to like it: no one cares. Sure, pro-gun advocates care, because the last thing we want is to see kids dying. I’m sure that anti-gun advocates care as well, because the last thing they want is to see kids dying. But the average American doesn’t care about gun violence.
Oh sure, they care in the sense that they don’t want to see kids dying and crying on CNN, but they don’t care enough to actually do anything about it, because that sounds a lot like work. Why get involved when it’s so much easier to pop another Cheeto and flip the channel over to the royal wedding or the Voice, man isn’t Blake Shelton dreamy? Caring takes work, and it takes investment, and people just aren’t invested in anyone’s lives outside of theirs. We have created these perfect cocoons made out of HBO and Facebook where it’s easy to let the news hit and bounce, and facts are pretty much irrelevant. You want to “solve” school shootings? You have to make people care.
How do you do that? People have to have skin in the game to really care about stuff, and yet most parents and most of middle America looks at these shootings and thinks “oh well that won’t happen in my school.” To be fair, they’re probably right. Despite how the media portrays it, your children have a much better chance of dying in a car crash than they do because of a school shooting. But that’s not the point, the point is how do you convince the average person that they do have skin in the game?
I honestly don’t know. I don’t have kids myself, so I can’t speak to that. What I can speak to is the title of this post, and two things that aren’t going to change. Two genies that are already out of the bottle. The activists on both sides love to point fingers, but the things we’re pointing at aren’t going to change. There are 300 million guns in the US, in the hands of 100 million gun owners. The sheer logistics involved in confiscating those are mind boggling, and pretty much impossible without large scale military mobiblization. You think Deputy Bob is going to go to his next door neighbor and take away his bird shotgun? That’s cute.
Of course, the media genie is also out of the bottle. As pro-gun advocates, we can point out that the media’s coverage of these events is only promoting more of them, but that’s not going to change. The networks need to make money and since America doesn’t really care, they’re going to feed the masses what they want: ghoulish coverage that basically looks like a scoreboard for mass murder. We can’t change that without a massive change in the way most people consume their media. Like I said, the genie’s out of the bottle.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t measures that can be taken. I’ve always been a proponent for safe storage of firearms, especially when you have a minor child in the house. Maybe safe storage laws are a good idea, and something that should be looked at. Maybe the media can reach deep down inside of themselves and remember ethics, and stop turning these murderers into celebrities – maybe it’s time for some reasonable regulations on the press. But again, you won’t see anything happen until people who aren’t actively involved in the issue care about it. Until then it’ll be remain the pro-gun advocates and the anti-gun advocates firing salvos back and forth trying to win hearts and minds so they can make the changes they want.