February 28, 2018
By Joe Kloc
Following the year’s 30th mass shooting, which claimed the lives of 17 people at a school in Parkland, Florida, lawmakers debated the best way to stop gun violence in American schools. As the 31st, 32nd, 33rd, 34th, and 35th mass shootings occurred, the third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, which has repeatedly passed amendments to federal funding bills that prevent the Centers for Disease Control from directly researching the causes of gun violence, said the killings could not be addressed with a “magic bullet”; and US president Donald Trump, who has previously expressed a fear of sharks, blood, stairs, watching prostitutes urinate, collecting rent in Cincinnati, and holding a 27-year-old bald eagle named Uncle Sam, said that an officer who did not intervene in the Parkland shooting was a “coward,” that he would have stopped the shooter himself even if he “didn’t have a weapon,” and that “highly trained” teachers should be armed in the classroom. A school board in Kentucky voted to allow teachers to carry concealed weapons, police in Louisiana raided the home of a student who observed that the symbol for a square root resembled a gun, and a high school in Pennsylvania suspended a teacher for discussing the Parkland shooting in class. The governor of Kentucky said the country needed to have “an honest conversation” about violent music and pornography “in the hands” of “young people”; congresspersons in Florida rejected a ban on assault rifles and then passed a resolution that declared pornography a public heath risk; a former Pennsylvania senator blamed “absent dads” for mass shootings; and the National Rifle Association, which in combination with its self-described “lobbying arm” paid $5 million to lobbyists last year, announced through its chief spokeswoman that it wasn’t “a lobby group” for gun ownership. Trump said the country must “do something” about how “young people’s thoughts” are shaped by “violence on video games”; and the NRA’s president said that “socialists” wanted to take away American’s handguns and semi-automatic rifles so that citizens wouldn’t be able to defend themselves against an attack by the US government, which employs a total of 1,373,650 active-duty personnel; owns 5,884 combat tanks, 41,062 armored vehicles, 1,934 self-propelled artillery guns, 19 aircraft carriers, 63 destroyers, 70 submarines, 2,296 fighter planes, and 947 attack helicopters; maintains a stockpile of 6,800 nuclear bombs, including some that are 80 times more powerful than the bomb the US dropped on Hiroshima during World War II; and operates on a budget of about $600 billion, which congressional Republicans said should be increased, and which the military used in part to fund Army-themed video games designed to recruit teenagers.