The Uvalde school shooting comes almost exactly six months after four students were shot and killed at Oxford High School. Michiganders are still waiting for action on that tragedy from legislators.
In the six months since, bills on gun control, mental health support and other related issues have been stuck in committee, without ever given votes on the floor, let alone getting passed into law.
It’s been 23 years since Columbine. Ten years since Sandy Hook. Four years since Parkland. Six months since Oxford.
This isn’t just about guns. It’s a multi-faceted problem that is uniquely American. Many paths can be taken to chip away at the problem. All those tragedies and nothing has been done, on any front. Judging by the legislature’s action Wednesday, nothing may be done soon.
It’s a complicated issue, but parents want to see something. Not thought and prayers, not finger pointing but action, from the people elected to do so.
“There’s only a few people that are in the way and they are right here in this room,” said Sen. Rosemary Bayer, Democrat from Beverly Hills. Oxford is in her district.
It happens after each of these school shootings, many kind words, with little action behind them.
“That’s what our people expect us to do,” said Sen. Bayer, “That’s our job, they aren’t doing their job.”
In the Senate Wednesday, Democrats looked to push gun safety bills they have been working on for years out of committee and onto a floor vote. It was voted back to committee.
“It’s way too early to assigning bill numbers to their grief,” said Sen. Ken Horn, Republican from Frankenmuth during a floor speech, “Let’s have an honest conversation and then let’s have an honest conversation.”
Gun control will always be a hot button issue but these tragedies are more than that.
“This is a mental health issue, it’s an isolation issue, probably a social media issue, it’s a bullying issue,” said Rep. John Damoose, Republican from Harbor Springs, “There’s so many things that go into this.”
So many options to attack the problem and very little done.
“We have mental health supplemental bills waiting to go, that they won’t bring up,” said Bayer.
9&10 News emailed all 17 legislators from Northern Michigan for comment on this story. Only two responded and only Damoose was willing to speak.
“We did put $50 million into the budget for SROs, police officers in schools,” said Damoose, “I don’t know if that goes far enough or not, but we are willing to do stuff.”
“Willing,” “want,” “need” are all good words at a time like this but “done” would be better.
“Look at who voted on the votes, the crummy votes that we actually did have today,” said Bayer, “Look who’s keeping this from happening. Who’s keeping us from doing what we have to do to protect the people in this state. It’s on the board, look at the board.”