Updated: May 26, 2022
An 18-year-old Hispanic man walked into Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas yesterday, an opened fire, killing 19 students and 2 teachers. It was a tragic, bewildering, confusing act of violence. The natural reaction to tragedy like this is to want to do something, anything, so we don’t feel so powerless, so vulnerable. And on cue, before the authorities had even been able to identify all the victims and notify their families, the usual cavalcade of virtue signalers stepped up to exploit and politicize the tragic deaths of these young people.
Barack Obama said, “our country is paralyzed, not by fear, but by a gun lobby and a political party that have shown no willingness to act in any way that might help prevent these tragedies… It’s long past time for action, any kind of action.”
President Joe Biden stated, “When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?... Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen? Where in God’s name is our backbone? … It’s time to act.”
Vice President Kamala Harris responded by saying, “we have to have the courage to take action… to ensure something like this never happens again.”
Director Rob Reiner issued a statement claiming, “The blood of every child that dies of gun violence in this country is on the hands of the Republican Party.”
Actress Alyssa Milano tweeted, “F*ck the GOP and their obsession with guns.”
Filmmaker Michael Moore said, “it’s time to repeal the 2nd amendment.”
Basketball coach Steve Kerr said, “I’m tired, I’m so tired of getting up here and then offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there and I’m so tired of the moments of silence. Enough!” and then called on U.S. Senators to pass the HR8 bill for universal background checks.
So, their response to this tragedy was, ‘we must take action’, ‘repeal the Second Amendment’, and ‘blame the Republicans’ for protecting the rights in the Constitution. But most people who are lashing out today do not have the mental capacity to look beyond the emotions of the moment, and take a measured, reasonable and responsible approach to addressing this tragedy. That misguided approach is how we introduced the surveillance state into America. In the wake of 9/11, we passed the Patriot Act based on our emotional response to that tragedy, and now we have our federal government and intelligence agencies surveilling American citizens without a warrant, without their consent. Because we reacted emotionally to a tragedy, we traded some of our rights for security, and we will never get them back.
It is very easy to make the mental leap when viewing a tragedy like this and expand it to make larger political points. Do we think that changing a law or altering a policy would have prevented this tragedy? What law? What policy? Background checks? We have background checks already. Would background checks have prevented this man from getting a gun? Do we want to take all guns out the hands of all the law-abiding citizens? We could do that. We wouldn’t be any safer, and probably more vulnerable. Our southern border is wide open. Record amounts of illegal drugs are smuggled into this country every year. If we can’t stop the flow of illegal drugs, we wouldn’t be able to stop the flow of illegal guns. So, the people who are responsible for most of the gun violence in this country, gang members and drug dealers, would still have guns, and probably commit even more murders because their innocent victims would be unarmed.
The overwhelming majority of the people who own guns in America never use their guns to kill another human being. In a country of 330 million people, there are over 400 million guns own by 81 million Americans. There are approximately 13,000 people killed by another person each year with a gun. That comes out to 0.016% of the gun owners in America use their gun to kill someone else. The overwhelming majority, 99.99% of gun owners, do not use their guns to commit violence against another person, and these people think the answer this tragedy is to take the guns out of the hands of the 99.99% of the people who own guns legally and safely. For context, there are approximately 276 million cars registered in America. There were 42,915 automobile deaths in 2021. That comes out to 0.015% of deaths per car in America. Cars are just as deadly as guns in our country. Do we want to ban cars?
In 2021 in the city of Chicago, there were 3,561 shootings, killing 797 people. That comes out to 68 shootings and 15 homicides every week. And Chicago has some of the strictest gun-control laws in America. Has Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Rob Reiner, Alyssa Milano, Michael Moore or Steve Kerr ever said one thing about the gun violence that is destroying Chicago and many of our major cities? Of course not. Do they say a word about the wide-open southern border which has led to the expansion of the drug trade which is responsible for most of the gun violence in America? Of course not. That doesn’t fit their narrative. That can’t help push their agenda of taking guns out of law-abiding citizens hands who most likely disagree with them politically.
290 people are killed in America every day from drug overdoses as a result of our southern border being wide open, and none of the people who are screaming about taking guns away from people to protect the lives of Americans, say one word about the mass killing of Americans that happen every day as a result of our failed drug and border policies. Eight times more people are killed by the drug trade in our country than are killed by guns. Eight times more. Joe Biden and all these people who want to take your guns away right now do not care about all those people who are dying of drugs. And in reality, much of the gun violence in this country is related to the drug trade in America. If we ended the drug trade in our country, most of the gun violence would go away.
The reason why they don’t say a word about the tragedy at our southern border is the same reason why they are exploiting this tragedy today. It is all about votes and elections. They are willing to leave the southern border wide open and accept the overdose deaths of 106,000 Americans, if it means importing tens of thousands of Democrat voters to win elections, just as they are willing to exploit this tragedy to scream about gun control, vilify Republicans and divide the nation because that will help them win elections.
In a free society, if there are mentally ill people who want to kill others, what can be done to prevent it? We would be deluding ourselves to believe that if we just had a different law or a different policy, that these shootings would no longer happen. If that’s true, what law could be passed so that all crime would end. It’s always dangerous to try fit a tragedy like this into a larger narrative, and misguided to offer contrived solutions which make us feel better in the moment, but solve nothing.
When the news of the shooting first hit, instinctively, did we feel it necessary to find out the race or the ethnicity of the shooter and of the victims to determine our responses? How important was that to us, and to the people making public statements? Did that information change our responses, or make the shooting more or less tragic?
It is interesting, when a white 18-year-old commits a mass shooting in Buffalo, New York last week, the focus was primarily on him – his motivation, it was his fault, he was a white supremacist. Some people even tried to blame Tucker Carlson and Fox News, but when an 18-year-old Hispanic man does the same thing, it becomes the gun’s fault? There has not been the same focus on the race and ethnicity of the shooter, his motivation, his social media accounts, his influences, as there was on the shooting in Buffalo. Why is that? Why is everything seen through the lens of race?
At some point, we have to start seeing every person as both an individual and as a child of God. The more we group people together based on race, ethnicity, gender, the easier it is to dehumanize each other. When we strip people of their individuality, we strip them of their humanity and we no longer view them as children of God, and it becomes easier to harm them, or kill them. Did this shooter see those little kids as children of God? Probably not.
Let’s not forget that the people who are responsible for these crimes, are the people who actually committed the crimes, who actually pulled the trigger. People who commit crimes like this, who would murder innocent little children, mentally, emotionally, psychologically live in a world outside of the reality that most human beings reside in. And these types of people are the fringe of the fringe of society, and their actions should not be used to make sweeping generalizations about society or broad political points. And the people who do that are revealing their lack of intellectual depth. It is wrong to place blame for these crimes on someone else’s feet to make some political point or push an agenda. That merely divides us even more during a time when is vital to be united. We are far too divided in this country as it is.
Maybe there is no solution. There is nothing that anybody did that caused this man to want to kill 19 little children, and there’s nothing that anybody could have done to have prevented him from wanting to do so. We can do our best to turn soft targets into hard targets. We can have more awareness of people with mental illness or violent tendencies. We can try to prevent people like him from possessing guns. But nobody knows why somebody would want to do something like this and then go and do it. Was he a sociopath? Was he emotionally disturbed? Was he whacked out on drugs? How did he become so alienated from himself and society that he had given up on life itself? Why was he so consumed by hate that he felt this was his logical course of action? I don’t know any solutions because wanting to kill somebody is foreign to me. It isn’t on my psychological radar. It is not on most people’s psychological radar.
The only solution to evil is goodness, love, compassion, understanding, forgiveness. And at this moment, that is what we should be focused on, that is what we need to be doing – loving, uniting, caring understanding, forgiving. That’s what we are called to do. Hate doesn’t conquer hate. Hate multiplies hate. Only love conquers hate. And that is what we need to be focused on.
Judd Garrett is a graduate from Princeton University, and a former NFL player, coach, and executive. He has been a contributor to the website Real Clear Politics. He has recently published his first novel, No Wind.