Can an Oakland County panel solve gun violence in America?
Will prosecutor Karen McDonald’s commission study gun violence, or gun control?
One of Michigan’s 83 counties, Oakland County, will convene a blue-ribbon panel to study gun violence and how it can be prevented. The panel was the idea of Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald.
When reporters asked on Monday why a county prosecutor would do such a thing — blue-ribbon panels are usually state creatures — McDonald listed off the names of the four victims of the Nov. 30, 2021, Oxford High School shooting: Hana St. Juliana, Madisyn Baldwin, Tate Myre and Justin Shilling.
According to the Detroit News account of McDonald’s press conference:
The commission, which comprises first responders, health experts, local elected officials, faith leaders, individuals who have been impacted by gun violence and more, aims to create an evidence-based curriculum to prevent gun violence and mass shootings in Oakland County and potentially elsewhere.
So far this year, there have been 30 school shootings that resulted in injuries or deaths, according to Education Week, which started tracking such incidents since 2018. Since then, there have been 122, according to the organization, with the highest number of shootings last year when there was 34.
“The fact that gun violence is the No. 1 killer of children in this country right now is unacceptable,” McDonald told Fox 2 Detroit. “What do I say to these parents who are asking ‘How can I keep my kid safe?’”
McDonald told Fox 2 that there needs to be “a model and a protocol that involves not just teaching kids to hide under their desk.”
The panel, she hopes, will develop one. And identify red flags that precede gun violence, so the public knows how to spot them.
The Detroit News headline may have captured McDonald’s goal best: “Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office launches commission on gun control.”
There are gun tragedies in Michigan. No doubt.
But what will this panel learn that has evaded experts in gun violence? What will they teach that will make Oakland stand out among 83 Michigan counties, or among roughly 3,000 counties nationwide?
Or, will the panel simply offer another bullhorn for a prosecutor to argue for more gun control? And what is meant by gun control?
The timing of the commission is also curious, coming in the midst of the criminal cases for alleged shooter Ethan Crumbley, 16, along with parents James and Jennifer Crumbley. Why not let those cases play out first?
There is always a danger, after a tragedy, of fighting the last war. Is this happening here?
After Columbine, schools banned trenchcoats and backpacks on their premises. Because of one attempted shoe bomber, we’re still taking our shoes off at the airport 20 years later.
Figuring out what should have been done on Nov. 30, as opposed to what was done, is important. But it’s not necessarily the answer to today’s problems, or tomorrow’s.
Gun violence is bad. This we know. What will the commission tell us that we don’t?
Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.