17 school shootings in the first 11 weeks of 2018: Has America been desensitized to gun violence?  

WHEN will the murder of innocent children and civilians due to the gun violence epidemic ever end in America?

Just on Tuesday, March 20, an armed student in Lexington Park, Maryland opened fire in a hallway shortly before classes began around 8 a.m, striking a female he reportedly had a previous relationship with, and a male student.

This is the 17th school shooting in only 11 weeks into 2018 where someone was hurt or killed. That averages out to 1.5 shootings a week, according to CNN.

Has America been desensitized? Has this been the new “normal” in this country?

Whatever happened to the “listening session” between President Donald Trump and the families of the victims of several mass shootings in America?

Whatever happened to the theatrics of the televised meeting between President Trump and the lawmakers following the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida when a former student opened fire using an assault rifle?

Whatever happened to the strong urgent rhetoric of Trump admonishing the Republican and Democratic lawmakers for not passing legislations to solve the gun violence epidemic because they were afraid of the powerful and well funded National Rifle Association who has been lobbying against any gun control laws?

Well lo and behold! This president was no less afraid of the NRA, who, like the Republican lawmakers, was also beholden to the association. After Trump’s meeting with the NRA: Goodbye to raising the age requirement from 18 to 21; goodbye to writing laws himself to ban bump stocks that convert semi-automatic rifles to rapid firing machine guns; and goodbye to more stringent gun laws to protect Americans!

Meanwhile, the Republican-controlled Congress again put the call for stricter gun laws on the back burner, with the Senate leadership prioritizing voting on legislation that rolls back Obama-era regulations that were meant to regulate financial institutions in the aftermath of the deepest recession after the Great Depression.

We have seen this movie before. Strong powerful words and “thoughts and prayers” rhetoric that were never translated into action and legislative changes for implementation, thanks but no thanks to the lobbying efforts and payback demands from the NRA which has been contributing millions of dollars to the campaign funds of these Republicans. They delay and delay their actions hoping the clamor for gun control laws would cool and die down until the next mass shooting occurs. Would this time be any different?

“ENOUGH!” “Never again!” These make up the battle cry of students across America, who walked out of school on March 14. They were supported by teachers, parents and other Americans from coast to coast in calling on politicians to bring an end to the school shootings that plague America.

These student activist lead by the Parkland shooting survivors vow that the Parkland massacre should be the last, and that they are taking action and responsibility to fight for their future, to fight for their lives.

Indeed, these young people defied orders from school officials and even local government officials who threatened them with detention, suspension, even corporal punishment in some states, just to subjugate them.

BUT many of these kids have awakened from their apathy and are now making their voices heard, despite criticisms, insults, denigration from irresponsible adults who would rather cling to and protect their guns,  than protect the lives of innocent children and civilians from mass shooting.

Contrary to the scare tactics of the NRA and their cohorts in Washington, these kids and stricter gun law advocates are not demanding to take away the Second Amendment rights of Americans. As “The Other 98%” Facebook page stated it:

“No one is saying take ALL your guns away. No one is saying take away the Second Amendment. If you believe that, then your leadership in the NRA and GOP have done what they set out to do, to brainwash you.”

What they are fighting for: To ban AR-15 type weapons [military weapons meant for use in the war zone and not by civilians] and magazines that convert semi-automatic weapons into rapid firing machine guns; to adopt gun laws that will help save lives including stronger background checks more stringent and longer steps in screening of those who are applying for license to purchase and use guns, NO weapons sold without background checks, increase age requirement from 18 to 21; to take the NRA out of government.

These are supported by a big majority of Americans — almost 7 out of 10.

Shouldn’t President Trump and the Republicans in Congress listen to the American people?

Gel Santos Relos

Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com and www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos

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