Several readers criticized the timing of a post I wrote the day after the latest mass shooting. Several felt the article was ill-timed and an attempt to politicize the event. Others thought I took advantage of the tragedy to promote an agenda.
Guilty on both counts.
As the news unfolded, the usual parsing of the event ensued.
Those who see gun control as the panacea screaming on one side.
Those wrapped in the Second Amendment on the other.
Some arguing we should wait for the facts to come out before we label this as a terrorist act or lone wolf as if this in and of itself would make it better.
What difference would any of this make except to allow the shock and anger to fade and America to slide back into willful ignorance of the violence within us?
Like it or not, a slight name and skin tone change would radically alter the national reaction. All of which speaks volumes about the realities in this country and our unwillingness to do something meaningful.
Gun control ain’t a solution, it’s an impractical and ineffective band-aid on a severed artery.
First, these harsh realities. There are over 300 million privately held firearms in the US (https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL32842.pdf). For anyone to think there is any practical way to eliminate them is foolish and likely to cause more harm than good.
The Second Amendment, for all the criticism it engenders, does not kill people. Lawful gun ownership does not threaten America. The most significant risk of death from a firearm is suicide. This tragedy is compounded when the suicidal individual takes out others before turning the gun on themselves.
In the latest mass shooting, suicide ended the rampage.
If suicide is evidence of mental illness and a considerable number of mass shootings end in suicide, wouldn’t reducing the common underlying characteristic make sense?
America has a problem characterized by violence. Our society suffers more mass shootings (outside of civil war or combat) than anywhere else in the world. Firearms facilitate the problem, they don’t cause it.
As to the timing of my piece causing a few to react with anger, I offer this. If not now, when? When will we realize that mass shootings are the poster child for gun violence, but not the full story?
On October 1, 2017, fifty-nine people killed in Las Vegas made world headlines.
In Chicago, fifty-nine shot dead is called the weekend. One cannot help but wonder if the nature of the victims has an effect on the level of reporting.
There is the more significant problem. Instead of targeting the symptoms, we must focus on the cause. Gang violence, drug dealing, and crime are all symptoms of desperation and ignorance. Until you treat the underlying cause, the symptoms will continue to flare up.
But in deference to those who say I wrote too soon, how about we do this? Let’s post signs around the country. Big, bold, flashing signs saying,
IT HAS BEEN XXX DAYS SINCE OUR LAST MASS SHOOTING.
Perhaps, we can also legislate a 7 day “waiting period” for articles discussing such matters. We can have a national moment of silent prayer to ask for no more such incidents. It might work this time.
Bless us, history, for we have sinned. It has been years since we made our last try at responsibility.