It's Been A Year Since Parkland. Almost 1,200 Kids Have Died By Guns. God Bless America.
The massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, took place a year ago today. That means it's also been a year since the Onion writer who came up with the oft-repurposed headline "'No Way To Prevent This,' Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens" wrote in a tweet that this time, it had happened at a school a mile away from his home.
Only this time, beyond the thoughts and the prayers, there were in fact some changes. We still have too many guns, and too many young people dying after being shot (nearly 1,200 kids in the year since Parkland). But a number of states have voted to tighten regulations on the sales of guns, and nine states, including Florida, have passed so-called "red flag" laws that allow law enforcement or family members to petition a court to ask that guns be taken away from someone who may be a risk to themself or others (a total of 14 states now have such laws). And yesterday, the US House of Representatives passed two background-check laws out of committee, the first real gun control legislation in years to get even this far. Five Republicans even voted for it. And the kids from Parkland inspired us all year.
The House Judiciary Committee sent two background-check bills to the full House yesterday. One, HR 8, would finally, finally require federal background checks for all gun sales and transfers -- currently, only federally licensed firearms dealers are required to run background checks, and while that includes virtually all sales of new guns, no background checks are currently required for private sales of used guns by unlicensed sellers. The legislation includes an exemption for gifts or transfers of guns from one family member to another.
The other bill, HR 1112, was designed to close a loophole in federal law that allowed the shooter in the 2015 Charleston church massacre to buy a gun he was legally not supposed to have. The killer was ineligible to own a gun because of drug charges, but the FBI took more than three days to process his background check. So instead of waiting, the gun dealer opted -- legally -- to sell him the gun with which he went on to murder nine worshippers at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. That loophole was originally designed to make sure no one would be overly burdened by background checks, because heavens, if you have to wait over three days the whole government might become tyrannical without you being able to put a stop to it.
Mind you, Republicans on Judiciary did their best to gum up the bills with super-smart amendments, like one that would have required background checks be waived for any victim of domestic violence who wants a gun. More guns always help! But at least the Rs could think of one group that shouldn't have guns: Another amendment would have required ICE be notified if undocumented immigrants try to buy a gun.
The amendments didn't go anywhere, but at least a couple of Rs had the chance to show off how much they hate tyranny!
In a video posted on the National Rifle Association's Twitter account, Rep. Douglas A. Collins (R-Ga.), a member of the Judiciary Committee present at the hearing, called the bill a "fraud" that "simply wants to get at your constitutional rights."
Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) sat near a cup that said, "The Second Amendment is my gun permit."
The background check bills are just the start of Democratic gun safety legislation; in the Senate, New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez introduced a bill to restrict magazine capacity to ten rounds, noting the Parkland anniversary
reminds us once again that high-capacity magazines are about high-capacity killing [...] You don't need 30, 60 or 90 rounds to go hunting or defend yourself.
The bills are mostly intended to move the debate on guns -- with Trump's veto and Republicans holding the Senate, tighter restrictions on gun sales won't go anywhere. But it's an important way to make distinctions between the two parties for 2020.
Since 17 Americans were murdered at Parkland, there's been some movement on attitudes toward guns -- but support for stricter gun laws has cooled somewhat since last year, in keeping with a depressingly familiar pattern, as Vox reports today:
A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found that 51 percent of Americans support stricter gun laws in the United States. While that's still a slim majority, it's a significant drop from when the same poll was conducted last year, soon after the Parkland shooting, when 71 percent of Americans said gun laws should be tightened.
Forty-two percent of Americans believe that stricter gun legislation should be an immediate priority for Congress. In a survey conducted in April 2018, 52 percent of respondents said the same.
Unfortunately, since America still has more firearms than people, it's only a matter of time before another massacre makes us briefly remember we have really stupid gun laws. In the meantime, troublemakers are happy to remind us that the toll from our "normal" Freedom shootings is pretty goddamned severe already.
[In] the year since one of the worst school shootings in the United States, nearly 1,200 more children have lost their lives to guns in this country.
The number alone might stop most people in their tracks. But editors at The Trace, a nonprofit news organization that reports on gun violence, wanted to remember the dead not as statistics, but as human beings with rich histories. This week they launched "Since Parkland," a website compiling profiles of every one of the victims. To tell their stories, The Trace turned to those who could relate most closely to the victims: other young people.
The project has kids telling the stories of kids who died in shootings. Like an 18-year-old girl in Indianapolis profiling the entirely too short lives of a Clearlake, California, 9-month-old and his two older siblings. All three were murdered by their father in August; the dad then shot and killed himself. Over 200 teens are working on the profiles; Mary Claire Molloy, who wrote about the Clearlake victims, has written 48 of them herself.
While the young reporters were assigned most of their stories, some felt a special affinity for certain victims and asked to write about them. A few shared birthdays with the dead. Another asked to write about someone killed in a drive-by shooting because a cousin had died in the same way, said Akoto Ofori-Atta, who led the project and is the managing editor of The Trace.
"We had thought about writing obituaries for kids, and that teen journalists should do this because it's their story to tell," she said of the 100-word vignettes. "They're short and poetic. You don't learn about the name until the end."
Also too, in a convenient bit of timing by the Deep State, Alex Jones was ordered yesterday to submit to a sworn deposition in that lawsuit brought against him by several parents of kids killed at Sandy Hook. Jones and Infowars are being sued over his fake assertions that the massacre was nothing but a "false flag" operation in which nobody died, so the government can take all the guns. Funny, grieving parents don't like being told their children never existed.
We wish we could say the Parkland anniversary was being marked with more decisive action to make sure it never happens again. But the kids are still angry that adults have botched gun policy so badly, and there's no sign they intend to drop their activism. We're even a little hopeful the NRA's reign of lobbying terror over Congress is starting to crack. We really need to work at becoming the grown-ups our kids deserve.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.