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Erick Erickson / May 27, 2022

A Solution or an Issue?

This is chiefly why Washington is broken. The incentives are to hold power, not to use that power to pass doable things.

The school shooting in Texas was awful, just absolutely horrific. These acts of evil are always gut-wrenching and exacerbated by overheated political rhetoric. The public demands Congress just do something. Republicans scream that Democrats want to take guns away. Democrats scream that Republicans are OK with kids dying. The GOP is closer to the truth. The media sides with the Democrats.

The reality is any measure needs 60 votes to get through the United States Senate. Democrats tend to go immediately for gun control. That will not pass the Senate. Gun control restrictions cannot get 60 votes. Democrats use that as a rallying cry to argue against the filibuster and an expanded Democrat Senate to scrap the filibuster.

Do Democrats want the issue, or do they want a solution? It almost seems that Democrats screaming about Republicans wanting kids to die is projection because Democrats rush in while bodies are still warm to vilify their opponents, attack them for offering thoughts and prayers, and then offer their own empty platitudes and empty solutions.

The bottom line is gun control will not pass the Senate. So, do Democrats want more dead kids or do they want to join Republicans in making some progress? There is no panacea here. Guns will not be confiscated because of the Second Amendment. Guns will not be banned for the same reason. Restrictions more often than not will not stop a school shooter even if this school shooter might have been stopped or deterred. The shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary School murdered his mother and used her guns.

In Uvalde, Texas, a school officer was armed, but there are lingering questions about how quickly he responded to the shooter. The Left is screaming that the good guy with the gun did not stop the bad guy with the gun, so we need to take all the guns. There are questions about timeliness of the response. There is no question gun confiscation will not enter American law.

Using one failure to suggest we should abandon efforts to provide officers at all schools seems foolish. That could get 60 votes in the Senate. Providing a well-trained public servant in schools would more likely than not serve as a deterrent. It might not stop all cases but could stop many. Why let perfect be the enemy of the good?

Republicans and Democrats may yet find some common ground on mental health reform. Overwhelmingly, these shooters suffer from mental health issues. The gun genie is out of the bottle and will not be contained. But well-armed retired veterans at schools would be better than waiting for the police to show up. It appears the shooter in Uvalde was in the school for most of an hour.

What about fortifying school doors? Provide one entry and ample exits. Control access to the building with security doors that can be opened only from the inside in case of emergency. Congress loves to spend on infrastructure. Democrats could get bipartisan support for school upgrades.

The voters clamor for Congress to do something. I suspect Congress will do very little and most of what I have suggested will not get done. Democrats need an issue to campaign on. They would prefer no solution so they can run on gun violence over getting a solution that forces them back to defending President Joe Biden’s economic record.

Reality will soon dawn on Democrats. Running against former President Donald Trump, Jan. 6, the Supreme Court or shootings will not save them from inflation, high gas prices, empty store shelves and high grocery bills. They might as well find common ground with Republicans and work to upgrade schools and their security before students return in the fall.

Expand school safety personnel, recruit retired veterans, expand school counselor programs and upgrade school building security. Those are doable. Gun control is not because of the filibuster. If the urge is to do something, these can pass. But I suspect the urge is stronger to use the issue to vilify Republicans. This is chiefly why Washington is broken. The incentives are to hold power, not to use that power to pass doable things.

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