It’s the Guns

It’s the Guns

KTRK-TV ABC13 / AP Americans of high-school age are 82 times more likely to die from a gun homicide than 15- to 19-year-olds in the rest of the developed world. This stark discrepancy is often treated as a baffling fact, requiring some counterintuitive explanation. After today’s massacre in Texas, the state’s lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, suggested that the problem may be that high schools have too many doors. “Had there been one single entrance possibly for every student, maybe [the shooter] would have been stopped.” At other moments, we’re told that the problem is that we need to do a better job guessing which troubled teens may prove murderous at some point in the future, or dealing with the excesses of masculinity, or possibly the crisis of meaning and identity in the secularizing modern world. As always, though, there is a simpler and more powerful explanation of why there has been no similar school shooting in Germany since 2009 ; or in Canada since 2007 ; none in the United Kingdom since 1996 —while conversely, more young Americans have died in school shootings in 2018 than in all the nation’s combat operations all over the world. The answer is almost insultingly simple and has the virtue only of being true: It’s the guns. The Parkland shooting earlier this year seemed at last to ignite a public movement in response to these terrible crimes. Yet even the cumulative impact of slaughter after slaughter has not softened the harsh divide of […]

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