The sad reality of choosing guns over people

Opinion: Another day, another mass shooting in the United States.

This time, on the last day of school before the summer holidays, at least 19 young children and two adults were murdered.

As much as it hurts me to say this, it will happen again.

Remy Ragsdale, three, holds a sign during a gun control protest at the Governor’s Mansion in Austin, Texas. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

It has become almost commonplace in the country where I was born.

There have been more mass shootings in the US than days in the year. Is this a problem in Australia or any other country in the world?

We’ve been here before, hoping that this will be the tragedy that will eventually lead to change.

As much as it hurts me to say this, it won’t.

Let’s take a look at some reactions from people who could do something to prevent the next school shooting.

US President Biden hopes to “turn this pain into action”.

“Parents who will never see their child again, never let them jump into bed and cuddle.

“Parents who will never be the same. Losing a child is like having a piece of your soul ripped away,” Biden said in his speech hours after the tragedy.

US President Joe Biden speaks after the latest mass shooting.
US President Joe Biden speaks after the latest mass shooting. (AP Photo / Manuel Balce Ceneta)

“Where the hell is our spine?” he asked.

There was a similar sentiment from Connecticut Democratic Senator Chris Murphy. He also made an emotional call to action:

“The 14 children who are currently dead at an elementary school in Texas. What are we doing? What are we doing?’ he asked the US Senate.

“A few days after a gunman walked into a supermarket to shoot African American customers, we have another Sandy Hook on our hands.”

This from March 4 Our Lives, an organization born out of the tragic Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, where 17 people were killed in 2018:

“Our hearts are utterly and utterly broken. You can’t stop a bullet with thoughts and prayers. To honor the lost and save countless lives, we need action. We die waiting.”

Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas had a different opinion.

“When there is a murderer of this sort, you see politicians trying to politicize him, you see Democrats and a lot of people in the media whose immediate solution is to try to limit the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens,” Cruz said.

“It doesn’t work. It’s not effective. It doesn’t prevent crime.”

Remember this man represents the families whose children were shot, murdered why they tried to get an education.

This comment comes hours after the tragedy, and before mothers and fathers could bury their young sons and daughters.

This is where the political game gets in the way of saving lives.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.
Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)
Let’s take a look at this new bipartisan bill. HR8 basically fills all the gaps in the background check system. It is a very sensible step to prevent gun violence.

It requires that any sale or transfer of firearms be subject to a background check. Seems like something most reasonable people can support?

The Democrat-controlled House passed it in 2019, but it never passed the Senate. Republicans, some of whom are financially backed by the NRA, prevented it from going through.

The next few days will pass in a familiar way. Don’t forget we’ve been here before.

Democrats will go to their political playbook to demand change, be it more background checks or restrictions on automatic weapons.

Republicans will say it is too early to talk about these issues in the wake of such a tragic event, while offering “thoughts and prayers.”

Joseph Avila prays while holding flowers in honor of the victims killed in the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
Joseph Avila prays while holding flowers in honor of the victims killed in the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

They will eventually argue for more guns, after all, the old saying goes, “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”.

They will insist that teachers be tied up and armed guards patrol schools. The two sides will be so far apart, nothing will be done.

Later we will hear heroic stories about the teachers who lost their lives trying to protect their students.

We will be told of the young souls who are lost. Their cheeky smile, their love of sports and Paw Patrol, they will be missed by their sisters and brothers.

We will see pictures of their young faces, full of promise, hope, a world at their feet.

The boy who wanted to be a police officer. The girl who talked to her dog and dreamed of becoming a vet.

The sad reality of choosing guns over people

Parents will mourn their sons and daughters in television interviews broadcast around the world.

Their pain will be felt as far as here in Australia. But nothing about US gun laws will change.

It is not a question of if, but when something like this will happen again.

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