It’s only a matter of time — weeks, days, hours . . . minutes? — until the next mass shooting in America.
We’re all so tired of this. Tired of the “thoughts and prayers,” the anger and intransigence on both sides of the Second Amendment, the empty rhetoric from our alleged representatives.
This has dragged on so long (Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Charleston, etc.) there’s virtually nothing new to say, nothing fresh to add to the discussion. I try to read the comments on social media about the Oregon murders, and it’s so infuriating and polarizing, so depressing, I have to turn away.
To sports. Netflix. Anything.
I start to feel better in my escapism, my apathy, and then I think of my three sons. They’re in their 20s, and they’ll have to live among the madness longer than I will.
Bottom line, I hope they don’t get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time — a pretty pathetic goal for a parent in a civilized society.
America’s entrenched gun culture scares the shit out of me. Somehow we allowed the Oregon murderer and his mom to have 14 guns in their home, all nice and legal. The mental health screening argument doesn’t wash with me. Why does anyone need 14 weapons, other than perhaps you’re planning to take six of them into a classroom and start firing?
I like what Australia did, although I doubt it would fly here. The country imposed tough laws after a 1996 massacre that killed 35 people, and it hasn’t had a mass shooting since. Suicides have also declined.
The U.S., for all its collective smarts, has really fucked up on this. We’re dying in droves — innocent kids, battered partners, the depressed who can get it over with quickly and messily, the street toughs who didn’t have much hope to begin with.
I understand now why some splinter groups have tried to form their own utopian societies, out of fear or disillusionment with what surrounds them. But the Oneida Community didn’t last long, and Jonestown and the Branch Davidians . . . those didn’t work out so well.
Since I can’t flee to some uncharted island, I hope lawmakers realize the “solution” to our gun problem isn’t to let everyone start packing heat. Data from the National Violent Death Reporting System show it’s not a good idea, but facts, which can be annoying, get in the way of an ideology rooted in selfishness and ignorance.
As soon as I start thinking America’s not crazy enough to revert to the Wild West, I stumble upon things like this: starting next August, some Texas college students will be able to bring guns to class and other areas of campus.
It’s a state law dubbed “campus carry.”
What a really, really bad idea. Tell me the faculty and non-carrying students aren’t going to be scared to death any time a controversial topic comes up in a crowded lecture hall.
(I can hear the argument now: “If a ‘good guy with a gun’ had been in the classroom at Umpqua Community College, he could have stopped the ‘bad guy with a gun.'” I doubt it, since this bad guy was also wearing body armor and had a lot of ammo.)
Anecdotal evidence aside, allowing more people to carry guns just isn’t the answer, whether it’s a 21-year-old on a college campus, your child’s kindergarten teacher, the crossing guard, the neighborhood barber.
There’s the dangerous tendency to play the hero, as a woman did in Detroit this week, pulling out a gun and firing several shots at a shoplifter’s vehicle in a Home Depot parking lot. No one was injured, and the shoplifter got away.
The shooter, a 46-year-old with a permit, happened to be in the area, put two and two together and came up firing. She could face charges.
One firearms instructor put the woman’s actions in the “worst nightmare” category. No. A “worst nightmare” would be if the shooter injured or killed innocent bystanders — say, a child in a car seat or a guy who went to the hardware store to buy a drill.
What an awful way to die. What a stupid way to live.