School Shooting Florida

A woman cries as she prays during a vigil at the Parkland Baptist Church, for the victims of the Wednesday shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Fla., Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Nikolas Cruz, a former student, was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder on Thursday. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) ORG XMIT: FLGH113

Gerald Herbert

What’s that passing by?

That’s another stream of blood from innocent children who were murdered by someone with an assault rifle. That’s more than a half-dozen school shootings this year.

What a shame. What a shame.

Here we go again as our most vulnerable die because of the easy accessibility of high-volume-capacity weapons. The 17 people, mostly children, shot to death this week at a school in Florida. The heart-wrenching photos of crying mothers says something needs to be done. But, in reality, nothing will. And, the tiny body bags will mount. 

Oh, sure we get the lawmakers perfunctory “That’s so sad ... We’re praying for you” lip service after such slaughter, but it comes to a quick and sudden halt when the gun lobby and its godfather, the NRA, tells its followers, “It’s time to move on. After all, the shooter had mental problems. Pick up the hankies, we’ve got guns and memberships to sell.”

Consider this. When two or three people die at a railroad crossing, communities crash local government meetings complaining that something needs to be done to save lives. Let’s put more warning signs up, they say. Let’s slow down the train. Nobody says, well maybe the drivers wouldn’t have been killed if they didn’t have a mental illness. Their complaints target the sources — tracks and the train.

Remember when the notorious rap group NWA was vilified by conservative, police-loving politicians and the law enforcement communities because of their violent language and their infamously titled song, “F*** Tha Police.”

Well, police departments across the country have pleaded with lawmakers not to allow the easy purchase of assault weapons, especially those that can easily be converted into automatic weapons. Well, you know what, the NRA, the gun lobby and many Republicans have fought that tooth and bullet, essentially saying to the police the same thing as NWA.

And, wait, did you see the warm and fuzzy ad the NRA had on its website as the little children were being gun down in Florida? It was a picture of a Valentine with two guns resting on it. What says boohoo love better than that? They eventually took it down. What hypocrites.

I can only imagine what the Easter promotion will be: An Easter basket with eggs, a stuffed bunny and a shiny AR-15. What’s says Easter and love like a weapon waiting to be a killing machine?

There’s a reason why guns like AR-15s are called “assault” rifles. You use them to kill as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. It is why the military uses a variant of them. Think about it, how many dove and rabbit hunters use AR-15s? Probably not a lot.

Come on, we can it more difficult — not impossible — for people to get those weapons. Let’s get more scrutiny. Who would have a problem with that? Wait. We know who.

Some local and state politicians in Louisiana are staying quiet about school shootings because they tremble at the thought of losing an A rating from the NRA. They will give the perfunctory “Oh that’s a shame” and rush off, fearing any more words would incur the NRA’s wrath.

President Donald Trump finally spoke on the incident Wednesday, followed the NRA script (you certainly can’t let him ad-lib) saying we need to look into the mental health area. He failed to mention that he signed NRA-supported Republican legislation last year making it easier for people with mental illness to purchase a gun.

But @joncoopetweets raised this point to Trump on Twitter. “God forbid — that Barron (Trump’s youngest son) was among the terrified children huddled in a darkened classroom, hearing gunshots get closer & closer. How would YOU feel? What will YOU do to prevent this from happening again?”

The tired NRA-Republican refrain is that any legislation against certain guns is akin to the government coming to take guns away from law-abiding citizens. I have never heard one politician or officeholder say they want to come to anyone’s house and remove their guns. It’s just a lie used to whip up some gun owners and the Republican base.

All that a majority of citizens ask is just make it more difficult to purchase those killing machines.

Maybe the lawmakers will be moved to act by a text from a girl hiding from the shooter on Tuesday. She reportedly texted this to her mother: “If I don’t make it, I love you and I appreciate everything you did for me.”

Do something, dammit!

Email Edward Pratt, a former newspaperman who writes a weekly Advocate column, at

Florida school shooting suspect booked on 17 murder counts legally bought AR-15