Columbine. Aurora. Virginia Tech. Newtown. Orlando.
And now Las Vegas. And this is just a partial list.
Here we are again. Heartbroken, as we mourn together as a nation, hearing about a 20-year-old victim whose life was taken far too soon and a husband who lost his life shielding his wife. And on and on and on. …
Thoughts and prayers will be tweeted. Calls for gun control will be made by the Left. The Right will say it’s not the gun’s fault, it’s the crazy person’s fault or societal decay. Moderate, reasonable human beings will say fine, keep your handguns and hunting rifles but come on, guys, do people really need to have access to military-style weapons?
We will debate this for a week or so. Friends will get in fights on Facebook and Twitter. Pundits will get in fights on cable news. Then another big news event will happen or the president will tweet something that gets everyone in an uproar and our attention will turn to something else.
And absolutely nothing will happen. We will get focused on a bunch of other things. Then this will happen again. And I will just add another city to the list up top and then write the same exact sentences again. Same song, different verse. Death toll just keeps getting worse.
Every time a tragedy like this happens, the satirical website The Onion writes the same headline, “‘No way to prevent this,’ says only nation where this regularly happens.” This time they added, “Americans hopeful this will be last mass shooting before they stop on their own for no reason.”
This site is supposed to make us laugh. But these particular headlines just make us shake our heads in frustration because we all know they are so tragically spot on.
And I get it. It’s a complicated issue. Even if we try and legislate the heck out of this, it’s not going to prevent a really crazy, determined mass murderer from killing a bunch of folks some way. That is absolutely true. And we have to protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens who want to own guns for self-protection and/or hunting. But we also have to protect the rights of those law-abiding citizens who don’t want to get murdered while attending a Jason Aldean concert on a Sunday night.
Yes, yes, yes. It’s complicated.
But good God almighty, 59 dead sons and daughters, wives and husbands, and we’re just supposed to be like, “Oh well, I hope it doesn’t happen again.” You know, kind of exactly like we did after a bunch of first graders were slaughtered.
No, this is America. We can do better. There are certainly things that can be done.
No one needs to be able to be able to buy military-style weapons/ammunition that can shoot 59 people in a matter of minutes. I mean, what are you planning to do with that if not use it for mass murder? Don’t tell me deer, dear. My family hunts. I know what it takes to kill a deer. And those bump-stock devices that can convert semi-automatic weapons into automatic ones, like the ones used by the Las Vegas shooter, should be totally illegal. Why aren’t they already?
These simple measures would not stop every shooting. No doubt. But if it would stop ONE, I’d be all for it. Hell, even if it just took the death toll from 60 to 30, I’d still be for it.
You may say, but what if we have to defend ourselves one day when complete lawlessness occurs and there are folks out there who already possess these? Wouldn’t you want to be able to own one of these to protect yourself and your family?
I’d say if that does ever happen, we have way bigger problems. (And I’ll admit you’re right and say I’m sorry and beg to live in your heavily armed compound and bum a few of your MREs.)
There are ways to figure this out. We can’t just do nothing. We are better than this.
Or are we? I really just don’t know.
This country is so divided we can’t even sit down and talk about common sense solutions to anything anymore. And it’s both sides. It’s way too easy for our legislators to run back to the Left or to the Right and cater to their bases, the vocal minorities. Most Americans aren’t extremists. We just want problems addressed in thoughtful, meaningful ways. “Compromise” is not a potty word to most of us.
Folks like Steve Bannon want to destroy the “establishment.” Lord knows, I get it. They don’t do anything but put out statements or videos about things they can’t get done, while expressing support of men you know in their heart of hearts they think are world-class snakes, crazies and/or idiots. Bravo! Job well done!
But Bannon and his ilk want to throw grenades into the establishment like Roy Moore. People who they believe won’t follow the party line.
I absolutely get trying to send change agents to Washington so that maybe things will actually, well, change. But extremists and lunatics aren’t the answer. To me, those folks have it easy. Just go up there and say no to everything and maybe throw in a few outrageous statements here and there for headlines. How does that make things any better?
The real heroes are moderates, those who don’t always go along with their party when something really stupid is proposed and who don’t just say no to everything and play to their bases. These brave, reasonable, rare souls who are, you know, trying to actually get things done in a calm, methodical fashion get attacked by everyone. These days, it takes way more spine to say you would actually sit down with someone from the other side to work together (gasp!) than to just say how terrible they are.
I have very little faith anything will get done in the wake of Las Vegas. I have very little faith anything will get done in Congress about any issue, really. Until the silent majority — rational, thoughtful Americans who just shake their heads in disbelief and disgust but say nothing — stand up together and say, “Enough is enough, we too are tired of career politicians whose only goal is to keep their jobs, but sending zealots and crazy people up there isn’t the answer either.”
Until then, nothing will change. Chaos will continue or get worse. Nothing will get done in regard to health care, tax reform or gun control. Headlines in The Onion will go back to making us chuckle. Well, until they once again read, “‘No way to prevent this,’ says only nation where this regularly happens.” And sadly they will. It’s as certain as taxes … and death. Lots of it.
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