Barbara Streisand thinks Trump is to blame for the school shooting in Parkland. According to her:

I think even that shooter was affected because Trump brings out the violence in people.

Ok Barbara, let’s look at some historical data on school shootings and then maybe we can blame some more people who were in the White House when the shootings happened. If you read Allie Nicodemio and Lia Petronio’s piece at this link you’ll see that school shootings are down since the 1990’s when Bill Clinton was president. A graph of mass school shootings which clusters the injured and the dead, shows that the late 90’s were one of the worst periods for school shootings in terms of fatalities and injuries. But Streisand wouldn’t think of connecting those shootings to Bill Clinton because of his policy positions (for moderate gun control).

The worst cluster of deaths is of course in 2012 with Sandy Hook. Obama’s reaction and his attempts at moving some sort of gun control legislation make him beyond criticism for what occurred on his watch, if you’re Streisand and most Democrats in general.

In other words, the data on actual school shootings under any given administration doesn’t matter, it’s your position on gun control that makes you an enabler of school shooters in Streisand’s world. If only we had gun control like in Norway, we could keep our schools safe. If only Hillary had been elected president, Parkland wouldn’t have happened.

Sorry Madame Streisand, Parkland was a ticking time bomb in the shape of Nikolas Cruz. Had the authorities – whether local Broward Police, FBI, or school officials – behaved the same way they actually did on February 14, 2018, with the same lack of reaction to the information they were given or the calls they had to take on Cruz himself, it is likely that Cruz would have been able to take weapons to school and shoot innocent students and teachers. Whether it was Hillary or Trump in the White House.

This is what Criminology, Law, & Public Policy Professor James Alan Fox of Northeastern University, and who put together the study linked above, says about mass (more than 4 victims) school shootings in America:

There is not an epidemic of school shootings.

HIs study showed that there are around 55 million school children in the United States and on average over the past 25 years about 10 students per year were killed by gunfire at school.

Yes, that’s 10 too many, but mass shootings and school shootings have occurred with a statistical consistency over the presidencies of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and now President Trump. We can argue about how effective gun control regulations would be or whether NRA policy positions will be nudged by Trump, but to say that Trump – unlike previous presidents – is somehow to blame for Parkland is ridiculous.

But go back further in time Madame Streisand. Wikipedia has a list of school shootings throughout most of America’s history. It may be less than foolproof or not perfectly authoritative, but it’s a bit of an eye opener. There have been school shootings for a long, long time. Vicious and vengeful or crazed or alcohol-fueled. Involving teachers and students and parents and outsiders. This did not start in Austin in 1966. For example:

  • In Louisiana in 1893, 4 were killed at a High School Dance, after a fight broke out and shooting started.
  • In West Virginia in 1898, 6 were killed when some young louts tried to break up a school performance and shooting and stabbings resulted.
  • In California in 1940, a fired teacher ran amok and killed 5 of his colleagues.

Did America collapse, rending itself into pieces as a result of these horrifying, violent tragedies? No, of course not. A solution to school shootings can be and will be found, but it has to bridge the enormous distance between a gun owner who may or may not be an NRA member, and a gun control activist in say, San Francisco. That means seeing each other as citizens of the same country and not as enemies from an opposing tribe. That in turn means that proposals like raising the age limit or banning bump stocks or improving data bases and screening procedures – steps suggested by Professor Fox – have to be seen as pragmatic steps that may help but may very well not prevent another school shooting from ever happening again.

So it also means being ready for the next one, not in terms of thinking legislators or police departments have always got it covered, but by being an active member of the community. If you’re a gun owner nowadays that means getting screamed at. But if the screaming can stop maybe we can notice the next crazed loner who’s showing signs of snapping. And try together to contain and perhaps avoid the next tragedy.