In an extensive segment on Last Week Tonight on Sunday, John Oliver gave his input on the gun control debate and criticized calls for more police in schools following the shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
In response to the shooting last month, which left 22 dead including the perpetrator, many conservative pundits as well as senators like Ted Cruz have refused to buckle on gun control and suggested it’s an issue of policing. Others, such as Texas Governor Greg Abbott, have opined that school shootings should be attributed to a mental health crisis in the country. The National Rifle Association, as Oliver pointed out, has proposed that schools need more guns in order to stop gun violence.
“It’s not that surprising that the solution from the CEO of the NRA is more people with guns,” Oliver said after showing a clip of NRA chief Wayne LaPierre, who wants more funding for police. “It’d be like hearing ‘the garbage dump is overflowing, so we need more piles of garbage’ from the head of the National Raccoon Association. I mean, what else do you really expect him to say?”
Another absurd suggestion, which came from one of Fox News’ many uncharismatic hosts, was to hang ballistic blankets over the windows at schools. “What are you talking about? ‘Use a blanket’ is not a strategy for stopping deaths during a school shooting,” Oliver added. “It’s barely a solution for ‘there’s a bird in the house.'”
Oliver went in-depth on how throwing more police at the problem, rather than addressing how an 18-year-old was able to buy an assault rifle just weeks after his birthday, won’t solve anything. As he pointed out, the federal government pumped $750 million into the hiring of school resource officers in the six years after the shooting at Columbine in 1999, but those figures have dramatically dropped since. In fact, more recent data shows 58 percent of schools have an officer on campus, while resource officers are rare.
One study cited by Oliver showed that 14 million students are at a school that has a police officer but no counselor, social worker, or psychologist. "That is 14 million kids who are closer in proximity to a pair of handcuffs than they are to a medical or mental health professional," he said, later highlighting how a 2020 study showed school campus officers rarely if ever deter school shooters, as was the case in both Uvalde and Parkland, Florida in 2018.
“If school cops can make shootings worse, why then are we still pitching them as a solution?” Oliver said. “If Off! discovered that their mosquito repellant attracted mosquitoes, they’d stop selling it, or at the very least rebrand it as a cologne for lonely mosquito bachelors. … School police are not the answer to school shootings; the answer to that is gun control. When we throw more cops into schools as an easy way out of that difficult and necessary conversation, we not only fail to keep our kids safe from gun violence, we condemn them to a system that criminalizes the very essence of childhood."
Oliver made his case that kids should be able to be kids without living in fear of being arrested while at school. “They definitely deserve better than the fundamental lie the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy who can arrest a 5-year-old,” he concluded.
The police response to the Uvalde shooting has come under heavy criticism, with many questioning why it took officers almost an hour to go inside the school to take down the gunman.
Watch what John Oliver had to say up top.