Ann Coulter suggested to Sean Hannity that the Sandy Hook school shooting would have been prevented if there would have been more guns at the school. Does this also apply to the two kindergarten classrooms where the victims were?
Here is the audio from Media Matters:
Coulter told Hannity, “It’s a fact that there is only one policy that has been shown to reduce the incidence of multiple shootings. There’s always going to be crazy people in a country of 300 million people. Only one policy has reduced these mass shootings and the number of casualties, and that is concealed carry permits. If you want to reduce the number of dead, and the number of times this is going to happen in an area, you sort of sense this, because Although, it’s bee a long time since a school shooting, post offices, places that are gun free zones.”
Coulter first suggested that the solution to mass school shootings is to give everybody more guns, then she contradicted her position by admitting that it has been a long time since we have had a school shooting due to the fact that schools have been declared gun free zones.
Since the shooter Adam Lanza carried out his attack on two kindergarten classrooms, does this mean that Coulter is suggesting that kindergartners should be packing? Is Coulter suggesting that this incident could have been prevented if the teachers and and staff and Sandy Hook Elementary School all had weapons at the ready at all times?
A look at every mass shooting by Mother Jones came to the complete opposite conclusion as Coulter. In September, Mother Jones examined every mass shooting the the United States over the past 30 years, and found that armed bystanders don’t prevent the incident, but become victims themselves, “In 2005, as a rampage unfolded inside a shopping mall in Tacoma, Washington, a civilian named Brendan McKown confronted the assailant with a licensed handgun he was carrying. The assailant pumped several bullets into McKown and wounded six people before eventually surrendering to police after a hostage standoff. (A comatose McKown eventually recovered after weeks in the hospital.) In Tyler, Texas, that same year, a civilian named Mark Wilson fired his licensed handgun at a man on a rampage at the county courthouse. Wilson—who was a firearms instructor—was shot dead by the body-armored assailant, who wielded an AK-47. (None of these cases were included in our mass shootings data set because fewer than four victims died in each.)”
The right wing fairy tale that more concealed carry permits will reduce mass shootings is based on several flawed assumptions. The right assumed that the person who is carrying is at the ready. They assume that the individual with the gun won’t be targeted first. They also assume that the rampage shooter will have no element of surprise. They assume that those who find themselves in a mass shooting situation will be in a position to retaliate.
The idea that adding more guns to a school shooting would somehow reduce the violence defies common sense, but it is also symptomatic of where the discussion has quickly gone after the Newtown shooting.
What is frustrating is that both sides on the gun debate were so willing to push their partisan position immediately after the incident. The far left starting calling for gun bans and gun control, while the far right behaved like Coulter and said everybody must have guns.
There are quite a few writers on this website, like myself, who have guns in their homes, and we see a middle position that neither side is willing to discuss. Gun policy in this country does not have to be an all or nothing issue. It doesn’t have to be a matter of nobody has a gun or everybody has gun.
Coulter’s remarks are a result of taking an extreme position to its most absurd conclusion.
The problem is the violence. Gun policy factors into the degree of violence, but our national discussion gets so mired down in partisanship on guns that nobody is asking why this is happening in our society.
Both sides should be able to come together to see that one of the traits that most of these mass shooters share is mental illness. Would the Newtown situation have been “better” if the mentally ill killer would have killed two or three people instead of twenty six? What if Lanza would have used a homemade pipe bomb or two? Should that change the discussion about violence in our society?
Our media has also played a role in making the post-Newtown debate hyper partisan. Websites on the left and right immediately went to the gun issue, because it is an easy source of traffic after a mass shooting. Many writers made the decision that it is better to tell their readers what they want to hear instead of challenging them with an honest discussion. The decision always results in a sort of ideological trench warfare that kills any potential momentum that might exist for the change that they are supposedly advocating for.
I am suggesting that these mass killings go beyond the use of a gun. There are many issues and cultural beliefs that have joined together to form this problem. In my opinion, beginning and ending the discussion with guns opens the door to avoidance of the bigger and more painful issues.
People always look for the easy solution after mass murders. They think that if only we ban guns or give everyone guns, something like this will never happen again. It is a comforting thought, but it isn’t true. Everyone wants to believe that the killer was a bad apple, or the problem was the gun.
No one wants to think that the problem might be something in our society. People don’t want to face the fact that we may all have to look in the mirror and work together to end the violence.
But until our nation is ready to have a serious discussion, the violence will continue no matter what policy we have on guns.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association