Standing in front of bouquet of microphones outside Noblesville West Middle School, Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter expressed frustration after having to respond to a third shooting inside a central Indiana school since 2011.
“Here we go again,” Carter said Friday afternoon. “I wish I had the answer. It’s just another sad day. Another cotton-picking sad day.”
At around 9 a.m. Friday, a student who asked to be excused from his science class returned with two handguns. He shot 13-year-old Ella Whistler in the chest and science teacher Jason Seaman three times before Seaman disarmed the shooter.
Just one week earlier, a school attack in Santa Fe, Texas, killed two teachers and eight students. Three months before that one, an assailant killed 17 people in a Parkland, Florida, high school.
So far this year, there have been 28 elementary and secondary school shootings resulting in 40 deaths and 66 injuries.
“Everybody offers their thoughts and prayers but they don’t have any change; they don’t do anything,” said Noblesville mother Mallory Blazak after the state police superintendent’s remarks. “I want them to take responsibility that they are not doing anything.”
Will the president and Congress deliver? Not unless Americans can agree upon facts.
Starting in 1996, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention self-imposed a ban on researching firearms deaths in the United States. The agency had been cowed by the National Rifle Association and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, among others, who accused it of being a fellow traveler of those pushing for gun control.
Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting of 2012, in which 20 first-graders and eight others were shot to death, President Obama ordered the secretary of human services to lift the prohibition and “conduct or sponsor research into the causes of gun violence and the ways to prevent it.”
Since then, the CDC has done little to nothing on this issue.
In the most recent government spending bill, the CDC finally won authorization to search for causes of gun violence, but no funding was attached to that authorization. Congress once again clamped down on dedicated money for this valuable research.
Cold, hard facts should always be welcome in a debate as serious as this one. Without the needed data in hand, we can’t have an intelligent discussion on this issue. The CDC is uniquely qualified to do this research, yet it isn’t allowed to do so for purely political reasons.
What is so scary about numbers? And what, exactly, are Congress and the gun lobby so afraid of finding?