A 16-year-old boy later identified as Nathan Berhow produced a .45 caliber semiautomatic weapon at the Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California and shot four of his classmates, two of them fatally, before turning the gun on himself. Berhow later succumbed to his wounds.
According to USA Today, the death toll would have been much higher had it not been for the fact that a detective and two off duty law enforcement officers were dropping off their children as the shooting started. They rushed toward the sound of the gunfire, confronted Berhow, and provided first aid to the victims.
As is typical in mass shootings, politicians weighed in almost immediately, before all the facts were known, offering their perspective whether it made sense or not. Mayor of South Bend Indiana Pete Buttigieg, who is running for president, was typical on Twitter.
“We don’t yet have all the details of the horrifying events in Santa Clarita. But we do know that in America today, children are scared to go to school. Parents and teachers are terrified. And that can’t stand. It is time to hold the NRA and our leaders in Washington accountable.”
The National Rifle Association, a civil rights group that focuses on the 2nd Amendment provision to keep and bear arms, has been a bogeyman for the gun control crowd for quite some time. The city of San Francisco even labeled the NRA as a domestic terrorist group.
As the National Review points out. California has some of the strictest gun control laws in the United States.
“California has already passed a ‘universal background check’ law. California, in fact, already instituted a 10-day waiting period, a limit to handgun purchases, a micro-tracking system, a personal safety test, an ‘assault weapon’ ban, an age hike on the purchase of shotguns and rifles from 18 to 21, ‘red flag’ laws that allow police to confiscate guns without genuine due process, among many other restrictions. And none of those laws stopped the ‘slaughter’ of children in Santa Clarita.”
California has already passed the full range of legislation that gun control politicians such as Buttigieg say must be passed to prevent school shootings. It is illegal for Nathan Berhow or anyone of his age to possess a firearm, not to mention take it on school grounds and start shooting people with it. Needless to say, California has not attempted on a solution to school shootings that are being tried in Texas and other states which is to arm teachers and staff.
The CBS affiliate in Los Angeles reports another problem. Nathan Berhow does not fit the profile of the typical school shooter,
“Berhow was on the honor roll and track team at Saugus High School grew up as a Boy Scout, and had a girlfriend – so his motive in the deadly shooting at Saugus High School is a mystery to all who knew him.”
Berhow had a circle of friends and is not the kind of depressed and angry at the world that seems typical of young people who snap and take out their frustrations on the world with a firearm. The exact motives for his murder of two of his fellow students and then his suicide is, as of this writing, unknown. Were the victims targeted? Or were they shot at random? Law enforcement is still looking into the matter.
While the rate of murder by firearm continues to steadily decrease, the occasional mass shooting still garners headlines and takes up a low of space on cable news and social media. The search for solutions to mass shootings is being poisoned by politicians, according to the National Review.
“1) Stricter gun laws don’t stop mass shootings. 2) There will never be enough laws to satisfy Democrats. But it’s a waste of time to continue to push policies that do nothing to mitigate a unique social problem (gun homicides overall are still at historic lows). Not only is the Democratic party’s obsession with creating barriers to gun ownership an attack on the individual rights of peaceful law-abiding citizens, it undermines any possibility of a productive conversation about the actual problem of mass shootings.”
In other words, efforts to restrict gun ownership will always elicit pushback from gun owners and groups such as the NRA, which in turn give politicians like Buttigieg good talking points, but does not create a solution.