Things are slowly returning to normal in Santa Fe after the recent school shooting, or at least as close to normal as is possible under such circumstances. But one thing I’ve noticed is that we’re not seeing nearly as much wall-to-wall coverage of reactions from the community on cable news. One possible reason for this is the fact that as the community comes together to try to heal, there’s a key element missing from the usual narrative. Almost nobody is blaming the guns for the tragedy. Calls for new gun control laws coming out of Santa Fe are nearly nonexistent. The LA Times looks at some of the contrasting responses.
There was no outcry against firearms in Santa Fe after a gunman killed 10 and wounded 13 others Friday. Guns didn’t come up at a prayerful vigil attended by 1,000 people that evening. On Saturday, there were no protests, and local leaders don’t expect any Sunday…
The Rev. Brad Drake has ministered to the Santa Fe community for seven years at Dayspring Church, an Assemblies of God congregation of about 150 people a few miles from the high school. The town of about 13,000 has 15 churches, and Drake serves on the local ministerial alliance as well as the Chamber of Commerce.
After the shooting, he worried that outside groups might show up with political agendas. He noticed a man openly carrying a handgun on his hip at the Friday vigil. But that was it, he said.
“We’re able to look past that stuff and just take care of people,” Drake said as he sat in his office.
Among the students who were willing to talk to the press, there didn’t seem to be any interest in signing up to be political pawns. These kids are just trying to heal and the answers they are demanding have more to do with making their school more secure than some national political debate. And that’s probably for the best since the Santa Fe shooting broke the usual story arc in a few ways.
There’s more to the missing narrative puzzle than just the failure to call for more gun control. This shooting breaks the standard profile in a couple of ways. A second element is the problematic fact that the guns used in the attack were legally owned by the shooter’s father and were stolen by the son. Once again, no gun control laws currently under consideration would have staved off this attack. The same was true of the Sandy Hook shooting, though that didn’t stop Connecticut from immediately moving to ban guns.
The types of firearms used have also deflated the media’s enthusiasm for covering the Santa Fe shooting. As the Chicago Tribune pointed out this week, the firearms owned by the shooter’s family are on the list of “approved” weapons, even among gun control advocates.
Friday’s shooting at Santa Fe High School, which left 10 dead, was carried out with a pistol and a shotgun – firearms that even gun-control advocates generally regard as utilitarian.
The reality that weapons not included in proposed assault-rifle bans can still exact a double-digit death toll further complicates a wrenching national debate about how to prevent future tragedies.
“That’s true” that weapons other than assault rifles can kill many people at once, conceded Avery W. Gardiner, co-president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which favors a federal ban on assault rifles but not on shotguns or pistols.
Parkland and Santa Fe are indeed a tale of two cities. Unfortunately, only one of them is being heard from in the media coverage of this national debate. If the survivors in Santa Fe don’t follow the script theyr’e not of much use to the various gun control groups currently trying to use the Parkland tragedy to their advantage.