Gun massacres seem to change minds

Gun massacres seem to change minds

ONE of the awful things about America’s latest mass killing, in Santa Fe High School near Houston on May 18th, is how quickly people slipped into familiar roles. Pupils and teachers cowered. Reporters and photographers tried to portray survivors’ grief and explain the shooter’s motives. Some politicians and officials lamented the toll of gun violence, while others blamed everything except guns (violent video games, abortion and too many doors in the high school were all bewailed). “A familiar tragedy sparks a familiar debate”, sighed the Texas Tribune . Two things are changing, however. First, mass killings have become more common and deadlier. A database maintained by Mother Jones , a magazine, suggests that deaths in shootings with multiple victims has risen since 2006, albeit erratically. Last year was the worst yet. After just five months, the toll from mass shootings in 2018 is higher than in any full year between 1982 and 1998. Get our daily newsletter The second change is in attitudes. Two pollsters, Gallup and Quinnipiac University, find that Americans have become keener on gun control. On February 20th Quinnipiac reported that 66% supported stricter controls, up from 52% in November 2015. The February poll was conducted soon after another school shooting, in Florida, and could reflect a brief reaction. It is hard to know: gun outrages have become so frequent that there are few quiet spells in which to take an opinion poll. If underlying attitudes are changing, politics could be the reason. When Democrats hold […]

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