Like many of you, I’m struggling to grasp the realities of the Nashville school shooting on March 27. If you were watching cable news on Monday and were in shock when they announced yet another school shooting, you quickly learned that this time was in Nashville at a private christian school called The Covenant School. We all held our breath waiting to hear what we expected to be horrible news. Then it came, the sickening news that there were three children killed along with three adult staff members.
School shootings are becoming so commonplace that many people don’t feel much when they happen. But we shouldn’t be immune. The loss of life, especially children, feels overwhelming, and while we shout about the issue and wish for change, it seems no one is listening.
As the day went on, we all wanted to know what kind of person would shoot up a grammar school. Soon it went viral on the internet that it was a trans woman, and as you might expect, online trolls blamed trans people for every school shooting that ever happened. The next day, headlines in many newspapers like the New York Post were ”Transgender Killer Targets Christian School,” or “Trans shooter taken down.”
Let’s be clear, if you’re attempting to make a profile of what type of person is responsible for school shootings, it’s really simple, and it’s not their sexuality or gender identity or the color of their skin. It’s their mental state and that they have access to a gun and, usually, numerous guns. Any other claimed “cause” is passing the buck and not wanting to have a real discussion on the issue.
Blaming trans people for the ills of school shootings or the ills of our society is ridiculous and will not solve the issue. The only real common denominator in all school shootings seems to be something that our Congress does not want to address: mental health issues and access to guns.
In this country we regulate almost anything that can cause harm. Alcohol, prescription drugs, safe working conditions, water supply, hair salons, even passing a test to get a drivers license. But with guns or assault weapons? We do nothing. Actually, let me be more specific. Politicians in bed with the NRA do nothing.
Part of the discussion in the next few weeks will be the shooter’s reasons. We’ll most likely learn that she was a troubled individual, suffering from depression or mentally unstable. We’ve heard that about almost every other person who attacks children at a school. Isn’t it time to move the subject along to what actually causes these shootings?
We’ve boiled this down to two issues: guns and mental health. Yesterday there was an interview with a Nashville elected official who, when asked about guns, said “let’s not make this political.”
It is political. We will not get strong gun control until elected officials vote to restrict or better license guns. Unfortunately Congress does not seem to hear the cries of the children. We can only hope that maybe this shooting will lead to a reality that change is needed, and at the top of that list are restricting assault weapons like the kind used by the shooter in Nashville this week. These are military grade weapons. I’m not comfortable with knowing that I might have a neighbor with an arsenal like that in their home. And thanks to this congress, that actually is a possibility, not just in my neighborhood, but also in yours.