It’s been another heartbreaking month in America with the terrorist attack in New York and two of the deadliest mass shootings in American history. It just seems like the blood spilled on our soil for so many different reasons is never going to end. I think our flags have spent more time at half-staff than not. When will this end?

But even as we grieve together as a nation, we are still more politically divided than ever. From national to state and local politics, the new norm is just spewing a fountain of hateful rhetoric. I’m so tired of it.

It’s hard to know what to make of anything anymore. But here are a couple of random thoughts on these thoroughly depressing issues.

Another month, another mass shooting
They are getting closer together. You would think after the worst mass shooting in American history, we would have a little more time to grieve than a mere 35 days. But barely more than a month later, we have to see images of small children, babies who were slaughtered at one of the places where we should all feel the safest, our churches.

This most recent mass shooting in Texas once again proves it can happen anywhere to any one of us. Young or old. In metropolitan cities, tourist attractions, small towns that hardly have a dot on the map, our houses of worship, our schools, our workplaces, our entertainment venues, anywhere. Seemingly no ZIP code or person is immune from this kind of senseless violence.

Predictably, thoughts and prayers have once again been offered — words that now ring hollow and seem insulting rather than comforting.

Debates on whether this is all about guns or mental health have begun (it’s both), just so nothing will have to be done by the people who could do something. We have pretty much lost all hope we will see any real leadership on these issues.

If you turn on local talk radio you hear callers ringing in not to even debate gun control anymore but to say they are absolutely packing heat everywhere they go, including their churches, just in case something like this happens to them. Sigh.

This is the world we live in and are raising our children in — a world where a 1-year-old baby named Noah can be shot to death in his church at point-blank range and where the guy you are exchanging “peace of Christ” with on Sundays just may have a Smith and Wesson on his hip because he feels he has to.

You’re not even sure anymore if this makes you scared or grateful to have your fellow parishioners armed with pistols, but you’re definitely rethinking sitting in your usual pew near the front doors. Middle of the church is probably the safest place for you and your family, you reason, since you are not sure if the gunman would use the front or back entrance to start shooting you with his assault rifle. You are sad you are even thinking about the best place to sit in church so you and your family will not be murdered. It’s all just so devastating in more ways than one.

And still, absolutely nothing will change between now and the next time it happens. Except we’ll grow more numb to it, and that’s almost as depressing as the horrific acts themselves.

We should demand more from Moore
On Nov. 6 Barbara Caddell, the president of the League of Women Voters of Alabama, issued a press release saying they would “regretfully” not be hosting a candidates’ forum for the upcoming U.S. Senate election between Democrat Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore — because Moore refused to participate.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization formed 97 years ago that promotes “informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.”

According to the release, Doug Jones expressed interest in participating but a scheduler for Roy Moore told one of the forum’s organizers Moore was not interested in appearing on stage with “the other candidate.”

Since Moore will not participate, the organization will not hold an “empty chair” forum with just Jones.

“Moore’s refusal to participate has effectively killed our forum. As a matter of principle, the League does not hold ‘empty chair’ candidate events when one of two candidates chooses not to participate. We believe that an empty chair does not adequately depict a candidate — even when candidates are not interested in presenting their views — and both candidates need to be present in order for the democratic process to work,” the statement reads.

Caddell expressed “disappointment” in Moore’s decision and said the organization felt it had an obligation to inform voters a candidate had declined to participate.

This is so bogus. For a man like Moore, who has positioned himself as fighting for what he believes in no matter the cost, to be unwilling to debate his opponent is just pitiful.

I imagine he feels he is going to sail to victory simply because he is a Republican in Alabama and that’s all it takes. So why would he bother showing up to answer questions on why he was removed from office twice and why his charity paid him such a hefty amount? If he had good answers to these questions, I am sure he would be happy to be on stage with “the other candidate.”

This is the move of a coward, a man who will proudly wave a tiny weapon on stage but is too chicken to have a thoughtful debate on the issues with his rival. This speaks volumes on the kind of leader he would be.

Our state deserves so much more. Sadly, we will probably still get Moore.