As a general rule, Michigan governors and other politicians just love it when the state gets national publicity … except when it stinks.
“Four Students Gunned Down in Oxford High School.”
“Michigan is Number One in Average Daily COVID cases.”
It doesn’t get any stinkier than that.
And, now, in the aftermath, the governor and lawmakers are left to ponder how to address all those negative headlines — or not.
The gun headlines are nothing new. Since 1978 in our state, there have been seven instances of guns going off in schools, including one case in Genesee County where a first-grader took a weapon to school and used it on a classmate. A first-grader!
And Michigan is not alone. Nationwide, there have been 28 school gun tragedies so far this year, and if some of the copycat kids who “joke” on social media about taking a gun to school actually follow through, there could be more before we ring in the new year.
We’ve seen this movie before.
Scene one: Active shooter takes out fellow students during rampage.
Scene two: The gun control lobby leaps into action, again, and calls for more laws to avert more scene ones.
Scene three: The National Rifle Association and its cadre of followers tell those in scene two to take a hike.
Scene four: The curtain closes without the Michigan Legislature doing squat on the issue.
State Rep. Phil Green, R-Millington, who is as pro-gun as you can get, points out that the young man firing off 30 shells in Oakland County broke nine laws, including one that was posted on the front door of Oxford High School: This is a weapon free zone. No guns allowed.
“What could we have done more legally? Create another law for him to break?” the GOP house member wonders.
State Sen. Rosemary Bayer, D-Beverly Hills, who lives in the Oxford school district, heard Green’s remarks and rejects that reasoning: “More legislation is decidedly needed. The real goal is to get in front of these things where intervention, where interruption occur. These are not to take your guns away to violate your Second Amendment rights, but to save lives.”
She wants to pass a law that orders weapon purchasers to sign a document promising to keep the weapon stored safely and away from young hands. She also wants the size of magazines limited to 10 rounds.
Does she have the votes today to do that?
She most certainly does not. She confesses the only way to get those votes is to bring “public pressure to bear.” Since the GOP controls both the state House and state Senate, she fails without GOP votes, but confides she has “more than five Republican senators” who are sympathetic to her pleas.
However, unless there is that outside shove, the majority of Republicans will say no, as they have over the last few decades when the gun thing has come up.
While the gun headlines with four dead were bad enough, the national news has highlighted the sorry state of affairs in regards to COVID-19 around these parts, where over 20,000 of your former neighbors are dead. Michigan is under-vaccinated, overwhelmed in the hospitals, and seemingly stuck with a policy that “strongly recommends” you mask up, get poked with a needle, and stay away from large gatherings.
How’s that working out?
Watch the evening news to find out when they release the latest body count.