After last week’s tragic mass shooting at Oxford High School, many are calling for stricter gun regulations in the United States. Criminologist Dr. James Alan Fox says in the larger context of America’s gun violence epidemic, we need to shift our focus from mass shootings to the smaller everyday occurrences in order to make effective change.
“The problem is when we have these high profile events like that, people think that they are the norm… Schools are very safe places. Yes, this is a senseless horrific tragedy. But it’s not happening all the time. It’s not happening everywhere.” –Dr. James Alan Fox, Northeastern University
Listen: The smaller, more frequent instances that make up the reality of America’s gun violence epidemic.
Dr. James Alan Fox is a professor of criminology, law, and public policy at Northeastern University. He says mass shootings are a major issue in America, but they don’t represent the larger epidemic of gun violence that occurs in smaller, more frequent instances every day. “The problem is when we have these high profile events like that, people think that they are the norm… Schools are very safe places. Yes, this is a senseless horrific tragedy. But it’s not happening all the time. It’s not happening everywhere.”
Last week, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald charged James and Jennifer Crumbley with four counts of involuntary manslaughter for providing their son with the weapon used in the Oxford High School shooting. Fox says he agrees that in situations of adolescent violence or suicide by firearm, it’s right to look to the responsibility of parents. “I support the prosecution of the parents.” He says even after tragic mass shootings, policy makers are unmotivated to act because a portion of the electorate uses gun ownership as a litmus test for political candidates. “There was this fear that if Biden gets elected, the Second Amendment gets repealed… that’s not gonna happen… the fear of a large group of people… that’s stopping us from doing responsible things,” Fox says.