“We put a man on the moon 50 years ago and we can’t figure out why only our children are running around in their schools killing each other.”
In an emotional plea Thursday evening, Fox News host Shepard Smith blasted the GOP-led stalemate on gun violence research, asking how the nation went from putting a man on the moon to accepting the scourge of school shootings as a routine occurrence in America.
"It's astounding, isn't it? We are the richest, most powerful, wealthiest nation on the face of the planet ... We change the course of human events around the world. We put a man on the moon 50 years ago and we can't figure out why only our children are running around in their schools killing each other," Smith said Thursday on Fox News' "Shepard Smith Reporting."
"This doesn't happen anywhere else in the world," he said. "We have all of the resources in the world and we can't figure out why this happens in our country and doesn't happen everywhere else."
His comments come just a day after 17 students and teachers were gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, marking the third-deadliest school shooting in modern U.S. history.
The massacre in Florida has revived the debate over how to reduce the toll of gun violence in America, which is home to just five percent of the world's population but nearly a third of all mass shooters.
Predictably, Republicans nearly unanimously said they don't think the time is right to talk about gun violence prevention — because to the NRA-backed GOP, the time is never right to have that discussion.
On Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan called the shooting “horrific,” but said Congress shouldn't do anything until it has "all the facts and data." There's just one problem with that: The GOP, at the behest of the National Rifle Association (NRA), is blocking scientists from producing the "facts and data" on gun violence.
Thanks to the Dickey Amendment — a 23-word rider attached to a spending bill in 1996 and enacted in 1997 — research on gun violence has been frozen for two decades. As a result, gun violence was the least-researched cause of death in the U.S. over the past decade, and the answers to even the most basic questions about gun violence prevention remain elusive.
On Thursday, Smith railed against the idiocy of the amendment.
"Forget your political arguments," the Fox host pleaded. "Why can't we come together as a society and say 'No, we're going to study this, we're going to research this, we're going to bring our best and brightest together and put them in a room and give them whatever they need to figure out why are our children killing each other more in the United States than anywhere else in the world?'"
"We change the course of human events around the world. We put a man on the moon 50 years ago and we can't figure out why only our children are running around in their schools killing each other. It doesn't happen everywhere else. It happens here. Why can't they put the best and the brightest together to research it, to figure it out, and help us stop it?"
"We're failing our children," he said.
Wednesday's shooting marked the 188th school shooting in the United States since 2000.
Still, amid the carnage, scientists aren't even allowed to do research on how to prevent future school shootings — and Republicans aren't interested in talking about it.
But Americans are getting fed up with inaction. A growing chorus of people are calling the GOP out for their deafening silence on the issue, which has left the United States in the grips of a preventable gun violence epidemic that kills over 30,000 people annually.
Republicans silenced two decades of science — but they can't silence millions of American people.