Somewhere in the United States right now, as you read this, the next victims of a mass murder are going about their business of life and have no idea what’s in store for them.
They don’t know they’ll soon be victims – perhaps before the ink dries on our newspaper.
They have no way of knowing how they’ll die, or when; whether they’ll die next to their loved ones or die running for safety.
They will just be dead and the dead can’t do anything about it.
As a nation and a people we could do something about preventing these needless deaths, but we don’t.
Here is what will likely happen:
A gunman will open fire at a public venue killing some and injuring others. First responders, upon reaching the mass shooting will find a heavily armed gunman dressed Kevlar armor with an AR 15 semi-automatic assault rifle, some handguns, and toting hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
The gunman, very probably a white male with parental/spousal issues will either be taken into custody, shot and killed by the police or will take his own life after a short/long chase by police (or a bystander if it’s in Texas).
Local residents will express grief. Friends and family of the victims will hold a candle-light vigil. The President, speaking from the South Lawn will express grief, tell us how he was horrified, deeply shocked and offer prayers for the families and friends of the victims while urging us all to stay strong.
The NRA will say the event in no way means there should be tougher gun laws, and some will suggest arming everyone possible to cut down on the gun violence.
Congress will fuss about but make no move – after all even when one of their own was gunned down on a baseball diamond one early morning this year it didn’t prompt any legislation.
In the end there will be much rending of hair, wailing and gnashing of teeth and nothing will be done.
Then a week or so later another shooting will go down and we’ll start the seemingly endless cycle all over again.
We are frozen, fearful of taking the bull by the horns, knowing full well we have done nothing to stop our escalating gun violence but too stunned, soft-headed and corrupt to do anything about it.
Look around folks. You, me, anyone could be next.
Walking into a grocery store isn’t safe. Going to a movie isn’t safe. Playing baseball with friends isn’t safe and going to church isn’t safe.
Nowhere and no one is safe.
We are a violent society. Gun violence and lawlessness are all part of our immediate past.
We glorify violence in our literature, in our movies, songs and in real life.
We are an interesting dichotomy too. Gandhi, Lennon, Martin Luther King and others all spoke about non-violence and giving peace a chance.
We sigh, smile and think of how good it could be and then we go about killing ourselves all over again.
We allow people who have no business owning guns to stockpile them. We allow people to purchase semi-automatic assault rifles that can be easily converted to fully automatic assault rifles. We cheer about how many guns we collect and those who make and sell the guns donate huge amounts of money to those who make the laws to keep things the way they’ve always been.
Same as it ever was.
At this point it might incite a riot to say I agree with the president on one important issue, but it is true: This is a mental health issue.
Of course he cut funding to mental health and that’s another issue, but we have to educate people.
All of the laws in the world cannot stop people from killing each other – while it is also obvious we might at the very least be able to cut down on the number of mass shootings like those in Las Vegas, Texas and seemingly countless other locations in the last 20 years with legislation– our true goal should be to build a better human being.
We should teach our children about the sanctity of life – unfortunately it appears too many of us don’t recognize it ourselves. We go straight to “An Eye for an Eye” and then arm those with whom we agree.
We find bullets sexy. We find violence admirable. We teach it. We preach it and we enjoy it.
It is a very ancient act of man, left over as a survival instinct from the first time we crawled out of a cave to try and dominate our world.
We should retain our survival instinct, but temper it with keeping guns from those with mental problems.
But we continue to do nothing.
Not one damn thing - but pray.
I’ve had it with prayers. They’re fine things for temporary solace, but within a week or two at the outside we’ll be praying again and the names of the dead will be forgotten to all but their families and friends.
We need to act. One definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. By that definition our society is insane.