(If You Didn’t Realize It, Guns Won)
On May 18 of last year there was a school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas. In 25 minutes 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis killed 10 people and wounded 13 more using a revolver and a 12-gauge pump shotgun. The story itself was quickly eclipsed by the upcoming Royal wedding and rumors of a caravan of criminally-minded illegal immigrants approaching the southern border. It was the second deadliest school shooting in US history, and it was just a blip on the screen of America’s media cycle. In fact, if you go back and review the news cycle for that week you will quickly notice that the story itself was prominent for less than 48 hours. The overall perception was that all the issues and concerns the shooting potentially raised had just been covered by the aftermath of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting three months earlier.
It wasn’t just media exhaustion or the country choosing to look away from yet another school shooting. The death and mayhem in Santa Fe Texas last May marked a watershed event in the national gun debate. Comparing the national response to the tragedy with the procession of mass school shootings that had preceded it I was left with only one conclusion: the gun debate in America is over, and guns won. There will always be those who argue for gun control, but it seems clear there will not be any significant change in US gun laws anytime soon. Over the 19 years from Columbine to Santa Fe the two primary tools of the gun-control lobby, sympathy and shame, have failed to lead to any real change. The result moving forward will be a steady decline in America’s interest with the next ‘most recent mass shooting’, and a continuing inability to leverage reactions to the shootings for legislative change. Eventually, the events will start to become more deadly and destructive as perpetrators begin to consider ways to “outdo” previous attacks.
Columbine nationalized the idea of violence in our schools in a way that long-standing school violence in cities such as Chicago and New York never had. Part of the apathy towards violence in schools before…