In March, 50 people were slaughtered while visiting a house of worship.
A gunman entered one New Zealand mosque and killed more than three dozen people. Seven others were killed the same day in a different mosque a short distance away.
The white supremacist gunman used a combination of firearms — including a semi-automatic rifle — to shoot at men, women and children. The weapons were all purchased legally in New Zealand.
Six days after the attack the country’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, vowed significant changes would be made to the country’s gun laws.
Earlier this week, less than one month after the massacre, the New Zealand government passed a law banning military-style semi-automatic weapons and their availability to the public.
Last year on Valentine’s Day, 17 students and staff members at Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida, were shot to bits. The gunmen also used a legally purchased semi-automatic weapon, an AR-15.
In the days after that incident members of Congress offered their thoughts and prayers. It is a familiar, empty response.
The National Rifle Association went on the offensive and attacked those who would call for substantiative gun laws by labelling them as anti-Second Amendment.
The president of the United States met with grieving families and victims, some of whom told him that he needed to fix the problem. One suggestion was to raise the legal age to purchase weapons while another solution was to have more armed police on campus so future gunmen would be killed by good guys with guns.
One year later in this country, no significant legislation has passed into law.
While it took New Zealand less than one month to take a solid step in addressing a killing problem, the Trump administration and the GOP have sputtered along, offering more reasons for not enacting gun control laws.
Earlier this week Chula Vista police were made aware of a threat made against students at Bonita Vista High School. Two of them actually, the second one being a copycat.
Police indicated they get reports of threats regularly and investigate each thoroughly. In the most recent case one of the threats of campus violence was made by a kid who thought it would be funny. Police arrested then released him to his parents. We’ll see what the incident does to his burgeoning comedy career.
In the meantime, we can go on assuming there will continue to be threats of mass shootings at schools and elsewhere because, stop kidding yourself, that is the world we choose to live in.
Parents who are queasy with the thought of sending their kids to school for fear they will be shot have a number of options: send your kid to school, hold your breath and pray; home school; or move to New Zealand. Given our country’s devotion and obsession with guns I’d say a transatlantic journey might be their safest bet.