Republicans Blame Everything But Guns as Cause of School Shootings
Yesterday Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick blamed America's school shooting epidemic on violent video games and films, abortion, ending school prayer and divorce. The day before Oliver North, the National Rifle Association’s new president, blamed Ritalin for school shootings. But, for Republicans, a nation awash in guns is not a problem.
Oddly, there is no indication that the shooter, 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, takes Ritalin and his attorney Nicholas Poehl said on Sunday that he was not aware that Pagourtzis was on any kind of medication. But, is there any science to back up North's argument?
From IFL Science: George DuPaul, a psychologist at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, told the Associated Press that children on Ritalin actually tend to be less aggressive.“There’s really no evidence whatsoever that links treatment for ADHD with Ritalin and drugs like that with violence, let alone gun violence,” he said.
Well, OK, but what about Patrick's concerns with violent movies, video games, divorce, a lack of school prayer, and abortion? The obvious answer is that other nations have all of those and don't have the problems we have with mass shootings or gun violence generally. And, when conservatives bring these issues up they offer no evidence that there is a causal connection even though each has been studied numerous times. They simply throw them out there and hope someone believes them. And, to ignore the obvious answer, too many guns, is intellectually dishonest.
If we are to successfully address this issue, we must start with a fact based, scientifically sound investigation of the problem and potential solutions. You simply can't have an honest debate about school shootings like those in Florida or Texas without at least considering what role America's gun culture might play.