The Balkans is a part of the world that’s had it’s share of horrific atrocities over the years. The wars fought there includes all the most horrible hit such as ethnic cleansing, among other things. People there are far to familiar with bad things happening.
Yet a mass shooting at a school was still something folks there likely prayed they’d never deal with.
Unfortunately, they do now.
A 14-year-old boy opened fire at a school in the Serbian capital of Belgrade on Wednesday, killing eight students and a school security guard, according to police. Another six children and a teacher were wounded and are receiving hospital care.
Authorities say they received a call about the shooting at Vladislav Ribnikar Elementary Schoolaround 8:40 a.m. local time. Police arrested the suspect, a seventh-grade student born in 2009,saying that he used his father’s gun to shoot at other students and staff at the school.
Primary school in Serbia typically goes through eighth grade.
Now, NPR notes that mass shootings are generally rare in Serbia but that there is still a pile of guns left over from the wars in the 1990s.
However, I’m pretty sure a 14-year-old boy didn’t exactly get one from his time in the military during that dark era, nor did he buy one lawfully in a nation that has strict licensing requirements, as noted above. The report doesn’t say how his father got the gun in the first place.
This is a mass shooting at a school somewhere other than the United States, though. This is in spite of gun control on the books in that country, too.
At some point, we’ve got to stop pretending that the issue is the availability of firearms and acknowledge that the problem is one of people. In this case, it’s a 14-year-old kid who, for whatever reason, wigged out and killed nine people.
While some like to pretend the only constant in a mass shooting is the existence of a gun, the reality is that the only constant in mass murders is that people carry them out. This is yet another example and an unfortunate one. That part of the world has seen enough horrors as it is.
Mass shootings aren’t uniquely American, as many people have alleged. They happen all over the world.
The difference is this one isn’t making the same headlines all over CNN or MSNBC as if it had been an American school. Now, don’t get me wrong. That’s understandable. What happens in Europe tends to be more interesting to Europeans than Americans, so I get why it’s not going to get the same coverage.
But that skews perspectives, too. Many simply forget that these things happen all over the place, not just here in the United States.
Mass shootings are awful, but they’re not unique to here and more gun control isn’t really going to stop them from happening. The sooner we come to terms with that fact the sooner we can start looking for actual solutions instead.