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OPINION: Words, Age Bans, Training — Useless To End School Shootings

by By Maylon Rice | June 8, 2022 at 5:25 a.m.

Could Asa, even in the aftermath of this terrible tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, or even the grocery store shooting in faraway Buffalo, N.Y., think he can ram a bill down the throats of the Arkansas legislators changing the age for buying an assault rifle from 18 to 21 years of age?

I must admit, most of the nation's governors last weekend, following the horrific school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, would be dreading any TV network call from the national talk shows, but, no, not Arkansas' governor.

Fresh off what many may misconstrue as the Arkansas' chief executive, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, triumphally leading our state through the May 24 Primary Election results -- which nothing could be further from the truth -- Asa, no doubt, through a state paid spokesperson or publicity connection, made himself available for the national talk shows following the 19 students and two teachers being killed in Uvalde, Texas.

It seems to me, as I heard very little solace in Asa's TV words for this occasion, his appearance was a total political appearance.

He wanted, as always, to walk the middle ground, straddling, I guess this time all the assault rifles in gun cabinets all across America.

While looking a little less somber than one might expect, with his stylish combover just right, our governor was saying maybe the best discussion to curb these shootings was to "raise the purchase age from 18 to 21," on such available weaponry.

With that in mind, only those mentally ill individuals over 21 are soon to be feared in the classrooms of America if Asa has his way.

What drivel from the governor of a state near the Uvalde, Texas, shootings.

So why were the governors of Louisiana, New Mexico, so silent on these talk shows, while our anxious lame-duck governor barged on to the networks?

Has there been any network opportunity Asa has turned down in the last six months -- even one covered with the blood of innocent school children?

Was Asa covering the backside of his fellow GOP governor down in Texas? Was he offering a fresh debate to the issue?

I think not.

But let's stick to the Arkansas side of this story.

I, for one, will call his bluff.

He can't do it.

The Arkansas Legislature, in its current form, will not do it.

That's about as plain and simple as it can be said.

That old argument about "not old enough to drink beer, but old enough to go to war," wins every time in rural Arkansas.

And you will never find Asa Hutchinson, or others, including that guy still a state Senator Jason Rapert of Conway, saying that 18-year olds – who can vote by the way – don't deserve to buy as many guns and all the bullets they can as often as they can without any interference on the holy Second Amendment to their interpretation of the Constitution.

Our governor might pivot in a special session on school safety to throwing more millions at securing Arkansas' schools with more electronic locking doors, secure bullet proof entrances and above all "more training" for school officials.

The training and even a school police force all of its own would seem to have mixed reviews after the Uvalde tragedy.

There were mistakes made with the trained staff in Texas. Costly mistakes that cost children's lives it seems.

Hutchinson's words, intended for comfort, fell short with an oblique deflection away from an assault rifle ban in this nation to one of saying maybe the raising of the age limit from 18 to 21 will do better in ending these school shootings.

Asa, that only works until a 16-year-old takes daddy's assault rifle from home, spraying 300 bullets in a 150-minute spree and kills a classroom full of unarmed third graders.

Guns kill people. Yes, they do. Guns in the hands of people, no matter their age, kill people.

-- Maylon Rice is a former journalist who worked for several northwest Arkansas publications. He can be reached via email at [email protected] The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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