That’s a good question. And I wish I had an answer. A good answer would be nice. Or even any answer.
But I have none. And obviously there really isn’t one.
Yesterday a bank employee who had heard he was going to lose his job walked into that bank and started shooting employees, probably those who had nothing to do with his employment situation. All in all, 5 people are now dead, several others are in critical condition including a young police officer ten days out of the police academy. He was shot in the head.
Yesterday’s tragedy marked the 145th mass shouting in our country since the beginning of the year. That’s a sad statistic.
It should be a frightening and sobering statistic, but it’s obviously not as much as it should be, because such events are becoming far too commonplace in our country.
We listen to the news and hear about some deranged individual walking into a crowded area, a school, a concert, a shopping center, a church, a darkened movie theater, and firing away, seeing how many people he or she can kill.
We shake our heads in disbelief that it’s happened again. We’re outraged. We cry out for something to be done. At least for a day or two.
We offer our thoughts and prayers.
We put memes and pictures on social media reading “I stand with [whatever area was attacked today]” and think that’s all going to help. Because it makes us feel better.
It certainly doesn’t make the victims and their families feel better. Because they lost people that can never be replaced, no matter how many prayers we say. And it doesn’t do anything to stop this ever-growing plague of gun violence that is sweeping our nation.
But then there are others whose answer is…., you guessed it. More guns. Arm the teachers. Armed security in our churches. More armed guards in shopping areas, concerts and the like. Metal detectors in schools, which actually should have been done years ago. Are guns the answers to guns?
And of course, there are calls for more people to buy guns and get concealed carry permits so they’ll be ready for anything. Does it make me feel safer thinking that a person beside me may have a concealed weapon? No. It makes me nervous because I don’t know how an untrained individual with a gun would react in a situation with a mass shooter, particularly if that shooter had an assault rifle. And I don’t know whether that person will think something is about to happen, pull out the gun, and shoot when there’s no reason.
I hear very few politicians on the right calling for gun control. “Oh, we can’t do that,” they say. “The Constitution says we have the right to our guns. We can’t change that.” [Translation: We WON’T change that.
That’s not exactly true. They don’t WANT to change anything. They like the political contributions from all the pro-gun groups.
Actually, we can change our laws without outlawing gun ownership. We can outlaw certain types of guns, like assault weapons. We can write stronger laws regarding gun purchases and gun ownership, training in weapons handling. We can impose special excise taxes on firearm sales. We can license gun owners, and make those licenses renewable after a few years upon passing a test, like we do with vehicles. We can actually enforce the laws we now have, and make it harder for someone who has behavioral health issues to own a firearm. Or harder for someone to buy a firearm for someone else who isn’t legally able to do so.
We need to stop these senseless acts of violence by cowardly individuals who think the only answer to their problems is to destroy other peoples’ lives and families. They don’t care what suffering they cause; they probably don’t even think or care about it. Yes, these shooters havr at least diminish e emotional and mental issues, and that needs to be addressed as well.
But we also need to rethink our country’s love of guns. I’m not against hunting, but you don’t need an assault weapon to hunt for wildlife.
I don’t have all the answers, but we need to start looking for answers in a serious way. There have to be things that can be done to stop these senseless tragedies. Hiding our heads in the sand doesn’t cut it. Praying for the victims doesn’t ease their tragedy. Donations made in the victims’ name doesn’t erase what happened or make it better.
Please, let’s contact our elected officials and demand legislation that can help to end or at least diminish these tragic acts of violence.
Before your family or mine is another victim.