Marcos Breton

Jose Luis Villegas /

Sacramento Bee columnist Marcos Breton. April 04, 2013

Marcos Breton: Another school shooting, another chance to deny our crisis with guns

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013 - 7:44 am

There is nothing like a school shooting to stifle any and all efforts to address school shootings in America.

The higher the body count, the stronger the opposition to any discussion of gun reforms.

We’re told that it’s offensive to even discuss gun control after a fatal shooting. People scream it. You’re accused of being an exploiter. A liberal. You’re playing politics while victims’ families grieve. All gun control does is keep guns from “law abiding citizens” while criminals remain armed – or so we’re told.

It’s interesting. Some who vow absolute allegiance to the Second Amendment don’t seem to appreciate the First Amendment when it’s used to ask questions in the wake of killings targeting little kids – or killings carried out by little kids.

This time the school shooting was in a suburb of Reno. This time the suspect was a 12 -year-old boy.

Let’s pause and reflect on that for a moment: a 12-year-old is suspected of killing a teacher. Two students were wounded before the boy turned the gun on himself.

We know almost nothing about the child suspect in the Sparks, Nev., shooting except for his age. For all we know, he hadn’t gone through puberty yet. It doesn’t change anything, of course. But the thought of a gunman with the lilting voice of a child is beyond comprehension.

It’s true that it is too early to draw conclusions on what motivated a child to kill. But based on past school shootings, a profile of perpetrators has emerged over the years – one that could eventually come very close to matching the Sparks shooter.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most school associated violence occurs either before or after school, just as the Sparks shootings occurred before classes began on Monday.

Nearly half of school-shooting perpetrators give some sign or warning prior to the shooting. In almost all cases, the perpetrator used firearms that belonged to a relative or friend.

We know that Adam Lanza, the shooter in the Newtown, Conn., massacre, killed his mother with her guns before using them to murder 20 innocent children.

But if comprehensive gun control can be thwarted after Newtown, there is little reason to expect anything will happen after Sparks.

You wonder how many shooting deaths it will take before we acknowledge that easy access to guns is an issue that can no longer be denied. Would it be so terrible to enact laws insisting on more accountability from gun owners, especially those who store guns in homes with children? What’s wrong with insisting that gun owners be more responsible and make sure their guns aren’t used by kids to hurt people?

Maybe the child in Sparks was bullied and felt he had no other option to protect himself. We won’t know for a while, but we do know this – he easily got a gun and knew how to use it. Change the subject if you wish, but it happened and it will happen again.

Call The Bee’s Marcos Breton, (916) 321-1096.

Read more articles by MARCOS BRETON

Marcos Breton, news columnist

Marcos Breton

Hello, my name is Marcos Breton and I'm the news columnist with The Sacramento Bee. What's a columnist supposed to do? I'm supposed to make you think, make you laugh, make you mad or make you see an issue in a different way. I'm supposed to connect the dots on issues, people and relationships that cause things to happen or prevent them from happening in our region. I also write a weekly baseball column during the baseball season. I am a voter in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Yes, I have voted for Barry Bonds - twice. I am a native of Northern California. I am the son of Mexican immigrants. I've been at The Bee for more than 20 years, and I love Sacramento.

Phone: 916-321-1096
Twitter: @MarcosBreton

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