The non-partisan Congressional Research Service defines a “mass public shooting” as an incident in which four or more people are murdered with firearms in a public location. In the past 5 months, America has witnessed 3 events that way overqualified for the definition. Last October, 26 worshippers were murdered in a country church in Sutherland Spring, Texas. Last November, 58 country music fans were slaughtered in Las Vegas, Nevada, and last month, on Valentine’s Day, 17 people, — students, teachers and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida were shot to death.
The Parkland attack was the 10th “mass public shooting” at an American school since 26 people, 20 children and 6 adults, were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012.
By a different measure, the Parkland shooting was the 18th incident involving guns fired or forcibly taken from would-be shooters at American schools this year.
The statistics can be numbing, and the repetition of these events seems to have worn down our reactions to barely-conscious rituals of “thoughts and prayers,” “shock and dismay,” even among those who perceive a cumulative effect and a political imperative in these mass murders.
As our guest today, pollster, columnist and marketing strategist John Zogby wrote in Forbes Magazine just 6 days after the Parkland tragedy:
“Generally, Americans who support gun control become enraged when horrible events take place then the outrage dissipates, gun rights advocates win the intensity war, Republicans and Democrats who receive money (and votes) from the gun lobby become squeamish – then the issue disappears until the next time.”
But this time, Zogby continued, “Mark my words. Parkland is different. This time the children will lead the way and it will matter.”
Even then, and we’re talking February 20th, Zogby saw that the children from the school had already influenced an important follower. “President Donald Trump has signaled that he could very well support ending loopholes on sales at gun shows and could consider renewing the ban on assault weapons that has not been law since 2004.”
The President has gone much farther since…calling for a “beautiful” comprehensive bill that would expand background checks on gun purchases, take guns away from the mentally ill, prevent young people from purchasing certain weapons, and bolster security on school campuses.
Will Congress and state legislatures heed this call, sign up for some kind of gun control agenda? We’ll see, but the outcome is uncertain. What is sure is that the 2018 gun control debate is likely to be the most intense and angry political conflict this country has seen since the Vietnam War more than 50 years ago.
John Zogby, founder of the “Zogby Poll” and the Zogby companies, is an internationally respected pollster, opinion leader and best-selling author. He has joined with his sons Benjamin and Jeremy in a new company called John Zogby Strategies, a strategic visioning firm specializing in preparing companies and agencies for the coming wave of dynamic changes. Zogby is also the inaugural Director of the Keenan Center for Entrepreneurship at his alma mater, Le Moyne College.
His newest book, published in 2016, is entitled We Are Many, We Are One: Neo-Tribes and Tribal Analytics in 21st Century America, is an exploration of the American people from the vantage point of their attributes and values, not demographics or geography.
Zogby writes weekly columns on Forbes.com and contributes a weekly Trump report card to The Washington Examiner’s Washington Secrets, by Paul Bedard. He is also a founding contributor to The Huffington Post. His analytical expertise has also been published on the opinion pages of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Financial Times.
John Zogby’s previous visits to HERE & THERE