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INEFFECTIVE: New Texas law shows how NOT to prevent school shootings

INEFFECTIVE: New Texas law shows how NOT to prevent school shootings

INEFFECTIVE: New Texas law shows how NOT to prevent school shootings

If there is one thing we know about the Uvalde, Texas school shooting, it’s that the tragedy didn’t result in 21 deaths because there was no gun around to fight the shooter.

And yet, the Texas legislature just decided that the answer to school shootings in a nation awash in guns is to put more guns in schools.

Texas will now require every campus, elementary through high school, to have an armed guard. This has been the gun industry’s dream for decades. As Texas Tribune reports:

If the parents of the victims of the Parkland shooting in Florida are even able to laugh, they might laugh at this “preventive measure.”

There was an armed resource officer at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High.

But, similar to the Uvalde police force, the armed Parkland officer never even engaged the gunman.

A person holding a pistol will feel very outgunned by someone with an assault rifle, which we all know is the mass shooting weapon of choice.

So it appears there are two choices.

Texas can buy tens of thousands of handguns (the gun industry just wet itself) and wish the armed guard luck.

Or, Texas can buy tens of thousands of assault rifles (the gun industry just fell into a pile of cash), and Texas kids can enter their school with the constant reminder that they’re in a war zone.

Assault rifles are designed for war; wherever they appear, one fears war-like conditions are about to ensue.

There is an absolutely radical third alternative, and that would be President Biden’s proposal to ban assault rifles altogether.

But there is only one way that assault rifles will ever be banned again in this country, and it’s a gut-wrenching choice.

Show the pictures.

We have sanitized school shootings. We know them all now. They all look the same. It’s almost impossible to keep track of which one happened where.

There is yellow tape, police lights everywhere, first responders going in and out, kids crying (if they’re lucky), parents crying…we’re numb to it. “Seen it.”

We expect at least one a year at a school, two or three at a mall, and a few more at other locations. “Seen it.”

But no, we haven’t “seen it.” This nation hasn’t seen what an assault rifle does to a child or anyone, especially from close range. It is more akin to a hand grenade than a “gun.”

Below is the testimony of Dr. Roy Guerrero. It is very difficult to hear him talk about seeing “decapitated” children, children whose entire chest cavity is a hole, children that shoes or DNA can only identify.

It would be even harder to see it. But one damn sure would be motivated to get that weapon out of people’s hands.

In the 1960s, the Civil Rights movement was largely stuck until national news cameras captured footage of the firehoses, the dogs, and the beatings.

Pictures propelled the Civil Rights movement because the horror was suddenly “real” to more Americans.

We don’t show pictures because it’s always been seen as dishonoring the dead.

At this point, one wonders if we dishonor their memory by not showing the pictures.

Of one thing we can be sure — putting an armed resource officer in every school may mitigate damages in school shootings — but they won’t stop them.

Nor is there any proof that an armed officer will minimize much. (Do these legislators even know how big high schools are nowadays?)

Taking away assault rifles won’t end school shootings, either. But it might take the death tolls down from 21, 49, 58, to three, five…

Putting better training plans together is a good idea and should be part of Texas’s legislation. But the gift to the gun industry? All those massive orders?

No. We have seen that no matter how many guns surround a building, mass shootings still happen.

We have to ban assault rifles. And the only way it will happen is to show the pictures and de-sanitize school shootings. Listen. If you can, because the Texas legislature won’t.

I can be reached at and on Twitter @JasonMiciak.

Editor’s note: This is an opinion column that solely reflects the opinions of the author.

Jason Miciak
Jason Miciak is an associate editor and opinion writer for Occupy Democrats. He's a Canadian-American who grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He is a trained attorney, but for the last five years, he's devoted his time to writing political news and analysis. He enjoys life on the Gulf Coast as a single dad to a 15-year-old daughter. Hobbies include flower pots, cooking, and doing what his daughter tells him they're doing. Sign up to get all of my posts by email right here:

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