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It’s the guns

“It’s the guns that make America exceptional, and not in a good way.”

“There are more guns in people’s possession than there are people in the United States.”

In the closing essay at the end of his always-smart Sunday program, GPS, Fareed Zakaria made one clarion point about recent mass murder in Texas: “It’s the guns that make America exceptional, and not in a good way,” he said. “It’s the guns, and how many there and how easy it is to get them.”

I  took some notes as Zakaria’s show aired, when the video of his closing essay wasn’t yet posted online. It is now, and I urge you to watch

Of course, as you no doubt know by now, another huge narrative has emerged in the aftermath of this latest atrocity, and it is no doubt relevant. A significant number of policemen with guns were in the room next door to the Uvalde hostage situation and, for reasons that many are still struggling to understand or explain, they didn’t open the door but awaited reinforcements. 

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Something obviously went wrong there, and if you want a longer exploration of it, here’s a long clip of MSNBC’s Chris Hayes focusing on what happened.

Quite possibly, if the “good guys with guns” had acted sooner, lives might have been saved. But, as the Zakaria comment makes clear, in most countries this wouldn’t have been an issue. Perhaps the constant repetition of needing good guys with guns belongs in the discussion. But so too does the idea that perhaps the good guys wouldn’t need guns if the bad guys didn’t have such easy access to them.