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The Different Responses in Parkland and Santa Fe Show We Need School Choice

June 4, 2018 in Economics

By Neal McCluskey

Neal McCluskey

Intellectually, I have many objections to gun control —
but even my instinctive reaction whenever there is a school
shooting, or any mass shooting, is that the big problem is the
guns, and something needs to be done about them. And if I, a
libertarian strongly predisposed against gun control, have that as
my first reaction, surely all people must feel the same way.
Right?

Apparently not. And that illustrates something important about
how we organize education, and a whole lot else.

I have been surprised by how different the reactions to the
horrific school shootings in Parkland, Fla., and Santa Fe, Texas, have been. The response from
the Parkland community was one powerfully focused on gun control.
The response from Santa Fe, where gun rights appear to be much more
cherished, has been very different.

The Associated Press recently ran an article about the near silence on gun control in Santa Fe, in
stark contrast to Parkland. The Texas Tribune covered a roundtable discussion in the Texas Capitol
attended by people from Santa Fe and other Lone Star communities
affected by mass shootings. Reported the Tribune:

“This is not a gun thing,” said Jay Horn, the parent of a
student who is in the hospital after injuries from the shooting.
“Evil’s going to happen with anything.” He got a loud
round of applause.

The contrast in the responses is striking because I assume if my
gut reaction is for gun control, then surely almost everyone,
especially shooting survivors, would want it.

I suspect I’m not that different from most people in
feeling—though on a rational level I know it not to
be the case—that everyone must pretty much thinks the way I
do. But it turns out there really is great diversity in the values
and beliefs of communities and people. Of course, this is not just
evident by comparing Santa Fe and Parkland.

We can all agree that the
school shootings in Parkland, Santa Fe, and many other places were
evil, atrocious acts. But that does not mean that even communities
affected by the shootings share the same beliefs about what can and
should be done.

The Cato Institute’s Public
Schooling Battle Map
, which I run, demonstrates this far more
comprehensively. It includes nearly 2,000 conflicts in public
schools, many over what values schools will teach or reinforce,
such as comprehensive sex education or abstinence-only; modest dress or student freedom; bathroom choice or bodily privacy. These
conflicts attest to the diversity of values strongly held by
Americans, though of …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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