Plus ça Change, Plus c’est la Même Chose

Jack gets to write on a Friday for a change –

Being a fairly laid back and ‘see the other’s point of view’ kind of guy, I tried very hard not to start anything on Facebook after the latest school shooting. But I was so utterly devastated by the stupid absurdity of the act itself, followed by the inevitable and immediate split between pro and anti-gun voices, that I felt it necessary to take a step back and try to give my point of view.

I really want to understand US gun attitudes across the spectrum but I may have to ‘unfriend’ an awful lot of people that I never thought I would. I can’t understand why folk can’t see what’s staring them in the face, but – hey – I’ve only been a Citizen for eight years and it’s not like you have to pass a test to prove you understand the constitution – – -like I did to become a Citizen.

I’m usually extremely careful about the things I post online, because I do have friends across the whole political continuum. But yesterday’s events just shook me to the core. To be clear, I’m a Quaker, a member of The Religious Society of Friends. I’m a member by convincement and not by birth and have been for 14 years. I am completely opposed to violence and armaments of any kind. I do not own a gun and never will! I can just, but only just, understand the need for a gun to perhaps hunt for food, although I’m close to vegetarian. (Curse my inability to withstand the temptations of bacon.)

All of the above is simply to make folk aware of where I stand. I’m not perfect by any means and certainly not by comparison with others of many faiths and none. But on guns I am very clear where I stand.

Those three paragraphs above are modified from Facebook posts I made yesterday.  What happened after I posted them surprised me. Two longstanding friends went to great lengths to defend the Second Amendment of the US Constitution. One took a constitutional and historical point of view (for which I have some, but limited, sympathy) and the other did the usual “vehicles and knives kill people but you don’t ban them” polemic. What disappointed me about both these responses was that both seemed to think the answer was to increase the number of guns in circulation.

Scotland had its own school shooting in the 1990s: Dunblane primary school, with 16 small children and their teacher killed. That resulted in an almost complete ban on handguns with equally almost complete support from the population, and there have been no school shootings since. Do you understand that? None. I find it incomprehensible that the United States government did not take similar action.

A friend of ours, a journalist we respect, who studies social trends, says that when the Sandy Hook school shooting took place, it was the tipping point. Once children could be killed by gun violence without laws passed in response, the numbing effect of this would permeate and prevent future advocacy.

I think she was right. I wish she hadn’t been.


16 of these Dunblane children and their teacher were killed. No school shootings since.


7 thoughts on “Plus ça Change, Plus c’est la Même Chose

  1. In remembering the Dunblane killing it made me think about Andy Murray the tennis player who was a pupil there at the time. He reached the peak of his profession how many other children are denied the chance by these mindless acts. I also have sympathy, if that’s the correct word, for the killer whose life was affected by being born with childhood alcohol syndrome. What a cruel World.

  2. I grew up in the ’60’s. It was a very different time in America. Guns were pretty much a way of life in the rural South. We used them for target practice and to shoot varmints attacking our livestock, among other things. There were no gun laws to speak of: No background checks, No Concealed Carry laws. No online national fingerprint registry. People could order guns through the mail. The only guns that were banned were those with a full auto mechanism. High school parking lots were filled with pickup trucks with rifles and shot guns in gun racks visible in their back windows. I got my first shotgun when I was 16. When I left for college in 1970 I took it with me and set it beside my roommate’s .22 semiauto in the closet. of our dorm room with the full blessing of the administration at Western Carolina University.. A..22 bullet is only .003″ smaller tin diameter than the one used in AR15, though there are other differences. However, In the entire decade of the ’60’s there were only two school shootings perpetrated by criminals. That number is obviously dwarfed by the number in the last decade. even with all the gun laws we now have in place. I’m not saying gun laws caused the increase in killings, or even that the pervasiveness of guns prevented it. What I am saying is something has changed in society since the ’60’s that has led to the current rate of mass shootings other that number and caliber of guns. Unless we figure out what it is and how to remedy it, new gum laws will have little effect. It is interesting to note that The two Columbine shooters in 1999 broke at least 18 gun laws to carry out their rampage. Comparing the US to other countries is like comparing a rugby pitch to a football stadium. There are so many cultural, historical and population differences as to make it a moot point..

    • I could have written this post myself. My daughter taught in an Oklahoma rural school in the early 2000’s where a sign hung on the building beside the entrance that read “Leave your gun(s) in your truck.” The high school kids would use them for hunting before school.
      Cultural rot has set in and at a rate that makes the mind real. Everyday there is a new attack on traditional values, especially on faith. Everyone is a victim now and young boys natural and normal behavioral tendencies are being criminalized. A little boy kisses a little girl on the cheek-sexual harassment! In Delaware, they are trying to impose that all boys and girls as young as elementary school age can pick their race and gender without their parents knowledge. This is an effort to protect the very few students who are transgendered. Children today live in chaos in broken homes and are being educated in a public school system whose policies a few years ago would have been considered child abuse.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s