A comment to a recent post here (https://ethicaldative.com/2022/06/01/pledge-of-resistance/) states:
“People kill people. Not guns, cars or anything else. People need help and they don’t get it. Our society decided that inclusion is more important than helping people and/ or making others safe from them.”
The comment alludes to a grave weakness of Texas government. It’s true that mental illness and weapons of mass destruction are a bad mix. After the Uvalde massacre on May 24, 2022, Texas governor Greg Abbot spoke about the importance of dealing with mental illness. Less than two months before that, however, he cut more than $200 million from the Texas commission that oversees mental health services in the state. According to the 2022 State of Mental Health in America report, Texas ranks fourth in the U.S. for prevalence of mental illness, but last for access to mental health care. At a press conference a day after the massacre, Abbott conceded that authorities were unaware of any criminal record or history of mental illness that could have flagged the 18-year-old Uvalde killer as a potential threat.
Nearly 10 years before Uvalde, in late 2012, 16 first graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut hid in their class bathroom. A 20-year-old male fired more than 80 rounds from a Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle into the 4½ by 3½-foot space, killing 15 of the children. The killer murdered 28 people at the school in all. One encounters variants of the argument that blaming guns for killing people is like blaming pencils for spelling errors. In this dismissive analogy the “errors” are human corpses.
A more reasonable conservative voice offers a glimmer of hope for reaching a modest middle ground:
There’s a future where America’s gun-ownership rate is as high as ever, where our schools still look like schools rather than airport security lines and where 18-year-olds under a demoniac shadow face meaningful obstacles to arming themselves for terrorism. Let’s try living there, and see what happens next. [Ross Douthat]
Kyle R. Cotton, “Trey Ganem’s Edna shop donates custom caskets to Uvalde shooting victims,” victoriaadvocate.com, 6-1-22.
Frank Bruni, “Gov. Greg Abbott Has a Lot of Nerve,” NYTimes, 6-2-22.
Zach Despart, “This Time Gov. Greg Abbott has few suggestions on how the state might prevent future mass shootings,” www.texastribune.org, 5-25-22.
Elizabeth Williamson, “From Sandy Hook to Uvalde, the Violent Images Never Seen,” NYTimes, 5-30-22.
Ross Douthat, “The Simplest Response to School Shootings,” NYTimes, 6-1-2022.
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