Social Question

Demosthenes's avatar

Is it necessary to turn every mass shooting into a political tool to push gun control (read details)?

Asked by Demosthenes (10142points) May 9th, 2019

I have asked a question like this before, but this time I want to frame it around a specific recent event:

The students at STEM School Highlands Ranch, who experienced a mass shooting at their campus on Tuesday, are refusing to let their tragedy be politicized.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/05/09/colorado-school-shooting-vigil-students-walk-out-protest/1150282001/

Last night a vigil was held to mourn Kendrick Castillo, the one casualty of the shooting. However, it soon became clear that the speakers were not mourning students, but politicians and gun control advocates who were trying to turn the tragedy into a political statement. Angry students walked out in protest and had their own impromptu vigil outside the main venue and refused to talk to journalists.

Personally, I applaud these students. It’s not easy to navigate the BS and the noise, but they’re trying.

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51 Answers

hmmmmmm's avatar

A mass shooting is political, so there is no politicizing of an event that is drenched in politics. I get that we like to think of these things as inevitable “tragedies” that just happen – and when people then make attempts to talk about stopping future mass shootings, gun advocates claim that these “tragedies” are being exploited by gun control advocates. But this is completely disingenuous. Everything about a mass shooting is the result of politics. There is no way to talk about a mass shooting without making a political statement.

Demosthenes's avatar

@hmmmmmm On one hand, I agree that politicization is inevitable. Gun advocates politicize by claiming that gun control advocates are politicizing. On the other, I don’t think a vigil held the night after the shooting needs to be about gun control. I think we can allow time for people to mourn victims before we insert our political plugs. These weren’t gun advocates decrying the politicization, these were students at the school where the shooting took place. (Some of the students were apparently shouting “mental health!”, suggesting it wasn’t being talked about).

zenvelo's avatar

So, @Demosthenes, we’re supposed to just consider the shootings as part of the fabric of growing up in the United States? Train the kids to react properly, unlike the little girl who prayed while all the “good” kids had their hands on their heads like the police told them? Come up with a special “mourning design” to drape over the empty seats at graduation?

Or, it’s okay to politicize it as an inadequate attention to mental health, but not as inadequate control over access to weapons?

I think you have politicized it in another direction.

Demosthenes's avatar

@zenvelo Tell that to the students. I’m more interested in reactions to what they did than to my commentary on it. I’ve never been a victim of a mass shooting, so I can’t say for sure how I’d react, but I don’t think that I would want to talk about gun control immediately following the shooting. I probably wouldn’t want to talk about mental health either, to be fair.

zenvelo's avatar

@Demosthenes The Parkland students have been dragged over the coals for having the audacity to ask for gun control. Nobody listens to the students.

Demosthenes's avatar

I think that’s true, though I also think that the Parklands students deliberately put themselves in the political spotlight, which put them in the trajectory of all kinds of nonsense. Which unfortunately is the risk of making yourself heard. If students want to talk about gun control, fair enough, but if they don’t want to, I think we should listen to that too.

Patty_Melt's avatar

This was the shooting where one of the shooters was charged and stopped by students, one of the students killed during his heroic efforts.
The other was stopped by a former Marine who was security there.
They were assembled to observe the heroic actions of those people, and mourn the loss of a cherished friend. Picketers need to form their own gathering elsewhere. Their rants belittled the sentiments of those who experienced the trauma first hand.

It was a hijacking, plain and simple. If it were a session for one student with a therapist, it would not be tolerated.

chyna's avatar

^Very good answer.

hmmmmmm's avatar

@Patty_Melt: “They were assembled to observe the heroic actions of those people, and mourn the loss of a cherished friend.”

Ummm…from the article:
“Many students appeared unaware the event was organized by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Sen. Michael Bennet and Rep. Jason Crow, both Democrats, both spoke at length about the need for federal action. The Brady Campaign invited reporters to cover the event.”

and…

“Some STEM students and family members held a private vigil earlier in the day. They said the public and journalists were kept out to permit anguished students and their parents a chance to grieve together away from the media spotlight into which they have unwillingly been thrust.”

Your response doesn’t seem accurate. The students attended a political event put on by The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and either didn’t realize it or were opposed to the politics.

kritiper's avatar

It sure looks that way.
I would like it better if this so-called “political tool” resulted in more proper use of guns instead of just blasting away whenever someone thinks they MIGHT be in danger.

zenvelo's avatar

Yes, it should have been a moment to honor the sacrifice of Kendrick Castillo who laid down his life to protect the right to bear arms.

Demosthenes's avatar

@hmmmmmm Yeah it seems many of them didn’t know. I doubt they went there just to walk out. I had read that it was billed as a memorial, so I can see why they might be upset if most of the talk is political.

hmmmmmm's avatar

^ Yeah. I don’t know how many “many” means. And of course, people would have gone there just to walk out and make a political statement. That’s what they did.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Why not? Guns were the method of attack – the weapon of choice -by the pair of miscreants who broke into the school.

Why wouldn’t you want to control the weaponry? Seems obvious to me.

chyna's avatar

^Because it wasn’t the time or place for that yet. It was to honor the heroes and the wounded.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I think the kids did the right thing for them, and I respect that.

London’s Mayor banned knives, too, wonder if that will stop the violence? (sarcasm)

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2018/04/09/london-mayor-knife-control/500328002/

elbanditoroso's avatar

@chyna that’s an old and overused answer. The fact is that if you don’t make a stink now, it never gets made. People conveniently forget to come back to the subject.

What you wrote is the same excuse made by apologists for Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, the church in S Carolina, and so on and so forth.

Saying “it’s not the right time” is a deflection, and avoidance mechanism to sweep things under the rug.

Demosthenes's avatar

@elbanditoroso I think “but it’s never the right time!” is a bit of a deflection as well. It doesn’t take into account that this was an event billed as a memorial held the day after the shooting. Even a few days later at an event specifically labeled “gun control rally” is different. Nuance is being ignored here.

ragingloli's avatar

Well, obviously.
Just like you should lift your arse out of bed, when your alarm clock rings.
But instead you continue to hit the snooze button.

hmmmmmm's avatar

@chyna: ”^Because it wasn’t the time or place for that yet. It was to honor the heroes and the wounded.”

First of all, that is a very ideological, political, and divisive sentiment. This isn’t some kind of “neutral” position you are taking. Second, they did have private vigils and can have them whenever they want. The event in question was a political event put on by a gun control advocacy group that had politicians and media.

hmmmmmm's avatar

Additionally, as @elbanditoroso points out – “not the right time” is a tactic used to stifle a particular position. If we need to wait until the dust has settled and some time has passed after people getting gunned down in the United States before we can act, we never will.

janbb's avatar

Kind of – yeah, it is!

janbb's avatar

@KNOWITALL i won’t get in a back and forth with you but there are so many less mass murders in the UK that it is truly noteworthy when one occurs. And I think you an figure out why.

filmfann's avatar

Ya, and why is it every time we have a “storm of the century” do people blame climate change!
Must have happened 20 times in the last 20 years.~

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Janbb Do you realize how easy it is to make bombs? If someone is intent on murder they find a way. Someday people will acknowledge an inanimate object is not the problem, its the mental health of the killers. Cain and Abel had a rock, humans have violent tendencies.
What I’m interested in is trying to stop all these parents killing their babies, but seems no one’s willing to even acknowledge the common factor in all these- mental health.

ragingloli's avatar

So what you are saying is, that colonials are especially mentally deranged on the whole, compared to any other western nation.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ragingloli Is a German asking an American about crazy? Haha!

ragingloli's avatar

No, it is a rethorical question. I already know the answer.
Spoiler: you are all genetically inferior.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Nobody has mentioned where Americans picked up terrorism tactics. It surely couldn’t be from hijackings, bombings, and masked gunmen all attacking innocent people during the 70’s. No, wait, before anybody says anything, let’s not forget the marines killed in 1985 when a truck crashed through a gate and blew them up in their sleep.

Of course none of those events could have influenced any frustrated Americans.

Maybe instead of banning guns, we stop learning crowd control from effed up people in other countries, instead of inviting those people to come live here, we let them stay in the country where they don’t influence our young and confused.

Has anyone compared the percentage of guns in America being used to harm civilians, to the number of mid eastern adults who have harmed innocent people, or anybody?

elbanditoroso's avatar

Interesting, @Patty_Melt , but irrelevant.

A truck bombing in Beirut is not remotely connected to a high school student with a semi-automatic weapon in Florida (or Texas, or Colorado, or California).

When the shooter last week in Colorado was breaking into the school, I doubt he was saying “gee, I’m really paying homage to the Marines in 1985 who were blown up by a truck bomb”, which was, of course 15 years before he was born.

He was using an automatic weapon to kill students. And his weapon of choice was easily available for him to acquire and use. You go after the guns because that is the method of murder. it’s obvious.

It’s also a bit of a stretch to say that it’s OK for teenagers to be killed by automatic weapons because the US let immigrants into the US twenty years ago. That’s nonsensical.

hmmmmmm's avatar

I think @Patty_Melt is onto something. It would difficult to believe that violent US foreign policy has nothing to do with US violence at home. We bomb and murder people all over the world, and are then surprised when people do the same at home.

zenvelo's avatar

hijackings, bombings, and masked gunmen all attacking innocent people during the 70’s Are you referring to incidents in the United States? Because there were quite a few hijackings and bombings in the US .

Many bombings and masked gunmen occurred in the South starting in the 1920s as a way to terrorize certain communities. They occurred regularly well into the Sixties and Seventies.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ragingloli Yikes, kinda like Hitler thought about the Jews?

Why do you people care so much about genetic purity, it’s so weird. I thought publicly racist comments were illegal in Germany?

Even Britain has a mixed royal now, you people need to lighten up.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I am all for racial purity. I wish them yellow hairs never come to the land of my people.

Demosthenes's avatar

@hmmmmmm Well it’s certainly possible that U.S. culture is violent compared to others. Mental health issues are worldwide. There are many countries that have higher suicide rates than the U.S. Not everyone lashes out and shoots a bunch of people at a school. That seems to happen in the U.S. at a much higher rate than in other developed nations.

ragingloli's avatar

@KNOWITALL
Colonials are not a race. Hell, you would have a hard time arguing that they are even human.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ragingloli If you’re joking it’s not funny. Just stop.

During the Holocaust, Nazis referred to Jews as rats.
https://www.npr.org/2011/03/29/134956180/criminals-see-their-victims-as-less-than-human

ragingloli's avatar

Kiddo, I think it is hilarious.
Just as hilarious as you conjuring up any convenient excuse, from “mental health”, to “kids copying terrorists” and “fluoride in the water”, just so you can avoid having to admit that the solution to minimising gun violence is to make access to guns as hard as possible.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Minimising gun use does not minimize violence.

ragingloli's avatar

Keep telling yourself that.
The child coffin industry is rubbing their hands.

janbb's avatar

@Patty_Melt How do you account for the fact that the rates of murder and mass murders are far fewer in every other country in the world? (Except perhaps Syria which is engaged in a bloody civil war.)

Do you really think it’s fair that our kids have to go to school not knowing if they’ll make it home?

ragingloli's avatar

A colonial and an Australian are sitting in a bar.
The colonial asks: “Hey man, is there anything in Australia that does not try to constantly kill you?”.
The Australian sips on his drink and responds: “School.”

Patty_Melt's avatar

That is not true.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Well, I was trying to set up a list of links, but it isn’t taking them.

janbb's avatar

I had read that but I can’t verify it so I retract it and apologize. However, comparing gun deaths to other developed countries, we do have a much higher rate, including of children under 14.

Why is the idea of sensible gun control such a divisive issue? I truly don’t get it.

And I’m out.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Basically if you piss of an American, you’re more likely to die. Piss of an American with a gun, esp rape and robbery, it’s a sure bet.
Historically a lot of people came to America with nothing, they were the bold and brazen from all over the world-some criminals fleeing, too, looking to make a fortune and try their luck in a new, untamed, dangerous country.
It’s not surprising to me whatsoever that this is affecting the children now, with the general decline of family values in society, the fatherless generation, etc…kids are angry. That rage has to go somewhere, sadly.
________________________________________________________________________

A landmark 1997 study actually tried to answer this question. Its findings — which scholars say still hold up — are that America doesn’t really have a significantly higher rate of crime compared to similar countries. But that crime is much likelier to be lethal: American criminals just kill more people than do their counterparts in other developed countries. And guns appear to be a big part of what makes this difference.

https://www.vox.com/2015/8/27/9217163/america-guns-europe

kritiper's avatar

A gun is a tool. And like any tool, it works very well when properly applied. Unfortunately, the tool user is not always up to the job…
Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.
And there are a overabundance to be had.

Patty_Melt's avatar

When people go to a mental hospital, lots of items are removed from their possession, because it is understood that many things can cause death and injury, and that if given the chance, lots of people will use them.

Prison deaths are zero, because prisoners have no guns.

chyna's avatar

@Patty_Melt Prison deaths happen all the time. They grab guns from the guards, they make shanks or something pointy to stab other prisoners.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Thanks for making my point, that violent people will find their ways.

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