As I watched this scene unfold, with police sprinting, sans firearm, to apprehend their man, I was struck with the feeling that my reaction to the scene exemplified America’s very unique gun problem.
Most Americans would be jarred to witness such a scene, reacting in one of two ways:
1) “It’s insane that those cops don’t have guns. They should eliminate the threat by shooting him in his tracks before he harms anyone.”
2) “Wow. Maybe it’s actually possible to maintain a safe, functioning, modern society without a pervasive reliance on firearms.”
The former sentiment is almost an involuntary one for Americans, and I would argue that even a pacifist would have a hard time suppressing an initial feeling of ‘Where are the guns?”
This expectation — and feeling shocked by any absence of guns — is deeply imprinted in our nation’s collective DNA. Like any potentially destructive trait, instinct, or prejudice that humans must overcome to succeed as a member of civilized modern society, we have to make an effort to overcome our acceptance of the inevitability of gun violence. As such, we have to call bullshit on those who continue to conflate unfettered firearm access with freedom, because our peer nations are experiencing far fewer gun deaths than the US.
Those kids in the classrooms yesterday experienced the exact opposite of freedom. If freedom requires that a gun is fired inside a school every 2.5 days, we’re doing freedom wrong.