As grieving friends and families in Buffalo, New York, were burying their loved ones, murdered by a young man whose mind was poisoned by conspiracy theories and right-wing “dog whistles,” another 18-year-old across the country in Texas was slaughtering innocent 8- to 10-year-olds and their teachers. When does this stop?

It is easier for an 18-year-old to obtain a gun (in these cases, a semiautomatic weapon) than to get a driver’s license in this country. For the latter, one must take driving classes, a written exam and behind-the-wheel proficiency test. To purchase a deadly weapon, one just needs the money and, perhaps, proof of age (18). Few questions, if any, are asked.

As a teacher, I had to teach my students how to “shelter in place” and do active shooter drills. Try explaining the need for that to a 5-year-old without terrifying them. The need should not be there, but it is.

The majority of the country wants Congress to enact common-sense gun laws, yet nothing seems to change. Republican members of Congress go about collecting their big money contributions from the gun lobby while more innocent Americans, including young children, are killed or live in fear of being shot.

We are nearly six months into the year and, according to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 212 mass shootings in the U.S., 27 of which were in schools, Education Week has found. In other civilized countries – Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, etc. – there have been zero! Perhaps we can no longer consider the United States a civilized country.

Barbara Osen
Orr’s Island

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