As of a a short time ago, the death toll is two students dead, at least one still critical after yesterday's Ohio school shooting.
And the reality is that there are folks trying to make a political point using the story.
And interestingly enough, I have examples coming out of the Austin, Texas area.
A University of Texas at Austin (UT) law professor called Monday’s school shooting in Chardon, Ohio, a “typical exercise” of the Second Amendment in an Internet post today.
UT professor Calvin Johnson wrote on an email listserv for constitutional law professors, “Another typical exercise of 2d [sic] Amendment rights today.” The statement was followed by a link to a New York Times story on Monday’s school shooting in Ohio, which at this time has left a reported four wounded and one dead.
Asked for comment, Johnson further expounded on Second Amendment interpretations:
“The original meaning of the second amendment was to form a better militia,” Johnson wrote in an email to the Washington Free Beacon. “Under original meaning, guns fit into miliitias, [sic] and militias are subject to Presidential orders. Disobey the order and you can be shot. That is the real second amendment. The fake one allows high school adolescents to have easy access to the opportunity to work out their fantasies. That is bad originalism.”
Johnson has also defended the city of Chicago’s handgun ban, arguing against the Second Amendment as an individual right. The ban was found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
Johnson has also argued that it was “quite reasonable” to disregard James Madison’s idea of the right to bear arms as “historical trivia.”
I won't tear apart Johnson's vile argument piece by piece because that is not my purpose here. I'll just note that the US Supreme Court and the bulk of historical research -- as well as the founding fathers -- stand against his position.
Which doesn't mean that politicization is limited to only one side. It didn't take long for one Austin-area blogger -- who I count as a friend -- to post this.
Kudos to that brave teacher who tried to catch the shooter. But it would have been nice if that teacher was legally carrying his own handgun, and was able to shoot the thug dead.
But, alas, gun-free zones do nothing but afford a target rich environment for would-be-killers without the risk of being shot back.
Now like I said, this blogger is a friend. He's also a gun enthusiast, posts many great posts regarding the Second Amendment, and is a trusted shooting companion to our governor. I generally agree with his observations on this shocking crime.
But here's the problem -- not only are the dead students not yet buried, but the wounded weren't even out of surgery when these comments were made by these two individuals. When these horrors happen, can we not wait before we use them to make political points? Isn't there a decent interval? or has the immediacy of the internet led us to speak first and reflect later?
And before you ask -- this teacher has some opinions on this sad situation in Ohio.
Surely somebody knew what this kid was planning.
The shooter surely knew that the student had a gun and planned to use it.
What can we do to make it easier for our students to come forward in such situations without being labeled as snitches and ostracized?
What can we do to make schools safer? My campus has armed officers present in public areas at all times. Is that the answer everywhere? Or do we need faculty members armed -- either with lethal or non-lethal weaponry?
I don't know -- and I really don't want to discuss the matter until we've cared for the victims and gathered a bit more data on what actually happened.