Cellphones aren’t blamed in texting-while-driving deaths. Why blame guns for mass shootings?

Even in the shadow of the latest school shooting, it is heartbreaking to watch naive Americans, young and old, so easily, so enthusiastically embrace the shredding of the Second Amendment as if that somehow would ensure their safety.

Seventeen young lives were ended in just over six minutes at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine's Day by an emotionally disturbed 19-year-old, Nikolas Cruz.

Over the ensuing days, a politically fueled, anti-gun maelstrom has swirled around the central question: Who or what was responsible for the horror? An AR-15 clone, the left says.

Not Cruz, whom the media almost apologized for because of his troubled background. Not the school, which knew him well. Not Florida's social service agency, which investigated him and found him a low risk for harming himself or others.

Not Broward County sheriff's deputies, who visited Cruz's home 39 times over seven years, knew he was a wacko and failed to act — and who then hunkered down safely outside the school while he was busy killing students.

Not the FBI. It received a tip in January about Cruz's, "gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting." Oh, and on social media he said: "I'm going to be a professional school shooter."

Nope, it was an AR-15 clone, says the left, ignoring the cataclysmic systemic failures.


It seems so odd. Vehicles are not held responsible for drunken-driving deaths. Cellphones are not held responsible for the deaths of the 11 young people killed each day as they text while driving. But a plastic, aluminum and steel object is responsible for the deaths at Marjory Stoneman? It is  insane to blame inanimate objects for human behavior, but that is where the left excels.

Never missing an opportunity to exploit a tragedy, it spent millions on the "March For Our Lives" event in Washington, D.C., so, supposedly, kids could demand change. There were marches in cities across the country, including Anchorage. It should be noted a University of Maryland sociologist in a Washington Post op-ed piece says the average age of participants was "just under 49 years old." Only 10 percent were younger than 18.

In the days since the shootings, the left's calls for "common sense" gun control have morphed into gun "reform," whatever that may be. Its notion of banning "assault" weapons has evolved into a ban on AR-15s, and, then, all semi-automatic, military-style "weapons of war."

The National Rifle Association and its 5 million members predictably were blamed, called killers. Oh, and paranoid, too, for believing anybody wants to seize their guns, despite a former Supreme Court justice calling for repeal of the Second Amendment.

One of the "March For Our Lives" movement's voices, a Stoneman Douglas shooting survivor, even relishes in describing the NRA and its members in profane, unprintable terms.

That there is intractable, bedrock disagreement about guns and individual rights in this country apparently is lost on the young man and his pals. At ground zero in that debate, the left and its young, malleable minions want to ban guns, despite the Constitution. Those on the other side of the argument are talking about rights and their absolute determination not to surrender them.

Compromise is nearly impossible, but compromise is not what anti-gun forces seek. They have no intention of stopping short of complete gun control of their own design, rife with bans on everything from AR-15s to magazines to pistols — and, yes, they would be next — to semi-automatic firearms of any type. All that has been in their playbook for decades. Stoneman Douglas — as tragic as it was — is only their latest excuse.

As for implementing reasonable proposals, such as training and arming volunteer school teachers and administrators, or finding ways to make schools, police and medical personnel more reactive to troubled students, or hardening schools? Maybe, someday. For now, the left is happy to pursue its latest nonsense that — again — will do nothing to prevent the next tragedy.

Watching the marchers — YouTube is packed with videos of them — is unnerving. The passionate ignorance of some of the marchers, the parroting, the complete disrespect for hard-won rights bought in blood and protected by the Constitution. It does not bode well.

Veteran civil rights leader and Georgia Rep. John Lewis, the Guardian reports, was enthused by the protests. He says the students reminded him of the early days of the civil rights era. "They will be the leaders of the 21st century," he said.

Watching them in action, and knowing what they want, we should pray he is wrong.

Very wrong.

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Paul Jenkins

Paul Jenkins is a former Associated Press reporter, managing editor of the Anchorage Times, an editor of the Voice of the Times and former editor of the Anchorage Daily Planet.