State Senator Ed Murray (D-Seattle) just released the following statement on the tragedy in Connecticut:
“Our nation is stunned and grieving today over the horrendous, senseless shooting at a Connecticut elementary school. This kind of unthinkable gun violence is becoming all too frequent. While tragedies like this are impossible to predict, it’s time we had a public conversation about how our communities – and especially our schools – can be best prepared. And I believe we are long overdue to have the politically difficult discussion of how we prevent them.”
As for preventing such tragedies, closing the gun show loophole and repealing state preemption of local gun control laws would be a good place to start. But of course, Murray is in the minority now, so I've called and emailed Senator Mike Padden (R-Spokane Valley), the new chair of the Senate Law and Justice Committee, for his view on possible gun control legislation. Haven't yet heard back.
But on the issue of preparation, one of the horrifying aspects of today's tragedy is that the school obviously was prepared for a mass shooting. I watched multiple interviews this morning in which students said, upon hearing the gunshots, that their teacher locked the door and huddled them in the far corner of the classroom until police or firefighters came to rescue them. This wasn't just quick thinking. It was apparently standard procedure.
In fact, mass shooting drills are becoming a common practice at American schools, in the same way we've long conducted fire drills and earthquake drills. Little children are being routinely drilled about what to do should an armed madman start gunning down their schoolmates, because, you know, like fires and earthquakes, sometimes that happens.