At least 10 people were killed Friday morning after a shooter opened fired in Santa Fe High School outside of Houston, Texas. A suspect has been taken into custody, but explosive devices have been detected in the vicinity, and residents have been advised to exercise caution.
The response so far has been similar to what has followed previous school shootings. Condolences have been expressed and resources have been promised. The NRA has stayed silent. The president and first lady have offered tweets. "School shooting in Texas," Trump wrote. "Early reports not looking good. God bless all!"
The debate surrounding guns has grown increasingly contentious since the February 14th shooting at Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead. Gun rights activists, perhaps feeling threatened by the upswell of support for gun control, which 75 percent of Americans now support in some form, have made it clear that they're not backing down. Last month, a Nevada woman refused to sing the national anthem at a minor league baseball game because she wasn't allowed to bring a firearm into the stadium. Students in Tennessee and Ohio have incorporated guns into their graduation photos. And on Friday morning, a man responded to the news of the shooting at Santa Fe High School by showing up to the scene of the tragedy with an American flag in his hand and a firearm at his side.
Guns and prayers: A man shows up to the Santa Fe High School (Texas) shooting with an American flag and a gun. Another man says "it's an embarrassment." pic.twitter.com/TAixNrJCPp— Scott McGrew (@ScottMcGrew) May 18, 2018
"Get to the school, make America great again," the man replied when questioned by a reporter what was going through his head when he heard about the shooting. When asked about his plan of action, he said he was just “offering support."
Once news of the fatalities broke, President Trump delivered comments offering support for the victims.
President Trump on Sante Fe, TX shooting: "This has been going on too long in our country. Too many years, too many decades now. ... A very sad day. Very, very sad." pic.twitter.com/CmVA0HVRwp— David Mack (@davidmackau) May 18, 2018
"This has been going on too long in our country," said Trump. "Too many years, too many decades now. We grieve for the terrible loss of life, and send our support and love to everyone affected by this absolutely horrific attack. To the students, families, teachers, personnel high, we’re with you in this tragic hour and we will be with you forever."
Exactly two weeks ago, Trump, himself, was in Texas – to speak at the national NRA convention. Before the assembled 2nd amendment enthusiasts in Dallas, Trump said: "Your rights are under siege, but they will never ever be under siege as long as I am your president!"
Vice President Pence also expressed his sorrows on Friday afternoon: "We say to the students, families, teachers and all of those affected in the entire community, we’re with you," Pence said. "You are in our prayers and I know you are in the prayers of the American people."
Pence spoke at that same NRA convention, less than 300 miles away from the scene of today's shooting. Pence addressed the scores of NRA supporters, telling them: "I'm a Christian, I'm a conservative, and I'm a card-carrying member of the NRA!"
NEW: VP Pence addresses deadly shooting at Texas high school: "We say to the students, the families, the teachers of Santa Fe high school and all of those affected in the entire community: We're with you." https://t.co/rO0PfNS0WK pic.twitter.com/ZuGYiWmtL0— ABC News (@ABC) May 18, 2018
With each passing school shooting, comments like the ones delivered by the president and vice president, as well as the "thoughts and prayers" that will be expressed on politicians' Twitter feeds throughout the day, are further winnowed of sincerity. No action has been taken, and it seems nothing is capable of inspiring any meaningful measure to prevent future shootings.
Outside of the loss of life, the saddest takeaway from this morning's tragedy at Santa Fe High School is the realization among students that mass shootings are no longer anomalies.
Reporter: "Was there a part of you that was like, 'this isn't real, this would not happen in my school?'"— Talya Minsberg (@tminsberg) May 18, 2018
Student: "No ... it's been happening everywhere, I always kind of felt like eventually it was going to happen here too." pic.twitter.com/3SyckfreIPhttps://t.co/VZ3ZPllJWD
"No, there wasn't," Santa Fe student Paige Curry said when asked if there was a part of her that thought something like this would never happen at her school. "It's been happening everywhere. I've always felt like eventually it was going to happen here too."
This post has been updated with the latest facts and figures available.