In the wake of yet another school shooting, the second deadliest in United States history, people everywhere are looking for someone or something to blame.
Most gun control advocates blame the AR-15, the tool used by the gunman to kill 17 people. It’s not unusual to hear a public outcry for stricter gun laws following a tragedy, but is access to a firearm the true cause of these recent mass shootings? Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich doesn’t think so.
From the 1765 to February, 2018 there have been 460 incidents of school shootings in the United States of America. In the 1950s there were 17 school shootings, in the 1960s there were 18, in the 1970s there were 30 school shootings and another 39 in the 1980s. In the 1990s there were 63 school shootings. From 2001 to February 14,2018 there have been 207 school shootings. For comparison, there were 227 school shootings in the entire 20th Century.
The AR-15 has been available to civilians since it was first invented in 1963, but the sharp rise in school shootings doesn’t occur until nearly 4 decades later.
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich held a press conference the day after the Freeman High School shooting in September, 2017. After offering his condolences to the families of the victims, Sheriff Knezovich tried to explain the violent counter culture that plagues the youth of today.
“It all depends on the 15-year-old,” he said after a reporter asked him if it was acceptable for a child so young to have access to firearms. “I can tell you, folks, I carried a gun all my life. I hunted, I shot. My friends and I, when it’s hunting season back home, when I was in high school, every one of those rigs had a gun in the gun rack. Why? We went hunting on the way home. None of those guns ever walked into a school. None of those guns ever shot anybody.”
Knezovich says in all that time, the gun hasn’t changed. We have changed.
“You started glorifying cultures of violence. You glorified the gang culture,” he said to the media and to America as a whole. “You glorified games that are actually giving you points for raping and killing people. A gun did not change, we changed.”
Knezovich criticised the politically correct culture of 21st century America for dissuading people from speaking if they see or hear something concerning. “Here’s a message to those who see it coming: You need to prevent that. Here’s the problem though, we have made doing what is right wrong. … So we need to teach those kids that if you see something like this, we need to know. … We’re not mind readers, folks.”
Watch a portion of his press conference before. His words have never been more important.