Another mass shooting at a school

February 14, 2018. Valentine’s Day ruined for the rest of their lives for a number of families in Parkland, Florida.

At the scene

The exact number of high school kids killed by this mass shooter remains to be disclosed. The names, the smiling faces in school photos and family videos, have yet to be released.

Authorities reportedly say that there have been fourteen victims. The shooter is in a nearby hospital, taken into police custody and then loaded onto a stretcher.

This is the eighteenth school shooting in 2018.

UPDATE February 16:

The number of dead has been verified. Seventeen people were killed by the shooter, Nikolas Cruz. Cruz turned out to be a disturbed former student expelled from Douglas High last year. The murdered include fourteen students–kids whose parents sent them to school that morning who never came home–aged fourteen to eighteen. The other three are teachers. Assistant football coach Aaron Feis put his life on the line, and lost it, running to help and shielding students with his own person.

Once again millions of people in the U.S. are wondering why we are not allowed to have even the most minimal regulation of weapons of deadly force. Speaking of ‘self-defense’, why did this disturbed kid have the key to where his weapon was locked up? A better question–why did this disturbed kid have such a weapon in the first place?

In plain English, a semi-automatic AR-15 is not ‘self-defense’. Allowing a distressed individual who obsesses over weapons to acquire a cache of weapons is not ‘self-defense’.

(I dealt with this argument briefly in one section of my book, Firearms Regulation in the Bill of Rights: Eighteenth-Century English Language and the U.S. Constitution.)

As ever when innocent people are killed by yet another gratuitous and unnecessary act of violence, many are again raising

Inevitably, though, the push-back against any improvement, any improvement in public safety at all, has already begun. And some of it comes from our news media. Today’s Washington Post splashily rejects Everytown USA’s statistic that there have been eighteen school shootings in 2018. I cited the stat myself, above. WaPo is caviling. Everytown counts any and every firing of a gun at or in a school. The gist of the WaPo article seems to be that anything short of bullets penetrating flesh in a school should not be characterized as a school shooting.

This is fact-checking? A gun at or in a school brings its lethal potential.  One could as fairly mention that the count of eighteen excludes all the school shootings that get forestalled.

We had an example Tuesday. As has been widely reported, a grandmother in Washington state prevented another shooting–or massacre–from happening. It’s wonderful news, an act worthy of public gratitude, and just plain a good idea all around. But neither this nor any other incident of guns and weapons commandeered before they hurt anyone, in a school, makes it into the “eighteen” tally.



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