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Opinion: Another day, another mass shooting in the United States. 

This time at least 19 young children and two adults were murdered on the last day of school before summer break.

As much as it pains me to say this: it will happen again.

Three-year-old Remy Ragsdale holds a sign at a gun control protest at the Governor's Mansion in Austin, Texas.
Three-year-old Remy Ragsdale holds a sign at a gun control protest at the Governor’s Mansion in Austin, Texas. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

It’s become almost commonplace in the country where I was born. 

There have been more mass shootings in the US than days in the year. Is this a problem in Australia or any other country in the world?

We’ve been here before, hoping this will be the tragedy that will finally prompt change. 

As much as it pains me to say this: it won’t. 

Let’s have a look at a few of the responses from people who could do something to prevent the next school shooting.

US President Biden is hoping to “turn this pain into action”.

“Parents who will never see their child again, never have them jump in bed and cuddle with them.

“Parents who will never be the same. To lose a child is like having a piece of your soul ripped away,” Biden said in his address just hours after the tragedy.  

US President Joe Biden speaking after the latest mass shooting tragedy.
US President Joe Biden speaking after the latest mass shooting tragedy. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

“Where in God’s name is our backbone?” he asked.

There was similar sentiment from Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut. He too made an emotional call to action:

“The 14 kids dead in an elementary school in Texas right now. What are we doing? What are we doing?” he asked the US Senate.

“Just days after a shooter walked into a grocery store to gun down African American patrons we have another Sandy Hook on our hands.”

This from March 4 Our Lives an organization born out of the tragic Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, where 17 people were killed in 2018:

“Our hearts are utterly and completely broken. You can’t stop a bullet with thoughts and prayers. To honor those lost and save countless lives, we need action. We’re dying while we wait for it.”

Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, had a different take.

“Inevitably when there’s a murderer of this kind, you see politicians try to politicise it, you see Democrats and a lot of folks in the media whose immediate solution is to try to restrict the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens,” Cruz said.

“That doesn’t work. It’s not effective. It doesn’t prevent crime.”

Remember, this man represents the families whose children were gunned down, killed why they tried to get an education.

This comment comes hours after the tragedy, and before mothers and fathers could bury their young sons and daughters.

This is where the game of politics gets in the way of saving lives.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.
Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)
Let’s take a look at this new bipartisan bill. H.R.8 basically plugs all of the holes in the background checks system. It’s a very common-sense step to prevent gun violence.

It requires that any sale or transfer of firearms be subject to a background check.  Seems like something most reasonable people can support?

The Democratic-controlled House passed it in 2019, but it has never cleared the Senate. Republicans, some of whom are financially backed by the NRA, have prevented it from passing.

The next few days will play out in a familiar way. Remember, we’ve been here plenty of times before.

Democrats will go to their political playbook demanding change, whether it’s increased background checks or restrictions on automatic weapons.

Republicans will say it’s too soon to talk about these issues in the wake of such a tragic event, all while offering “thoughts and prayers”.

Joseph Avila prays while holding flowers honoring the victims killed in the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
Joseph Avila prays while holding flowers honoring the victims killed in the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Eventually they’ll argue for more guns, after all, the old saying goes: “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun”.

They’ll push for teachers to be strapped up and for armed guards to patrol schools. The two sides will be so far away from each other, nothing will get done.  

Later, we will hear stories of heroism about the teachers who lost their lives trying to protect their students.

We will be told about the young souls lost. Their cheeky smiles, their love of sport and Paw Patrol, how they’ll be missed by their sisters and brothers. 

We will see photos of their young faces, full of promise, hope, a world at their feet.

The boy who wanted to be a police officer. The girl who talked to her dog and dreamt of becoming a veterinarian.

Parents will grieve their sons and daughters in television interviews beamed all over the world. 

Their pain will be felt all the way here in Australia. But, nothing will change with America’s gun laws.

It’s not a matter of if, but when something like this will happen again.

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