The first of the now hundreds of mass shootings I can remember in all its horrific details is the 1966 University of Texas massacre perpetrated by Charles Whitman who gunned down 49 people, killing 17.
Years later, the Florida school teacher who gunned down 11 at a welding shop; the San Ysidro mass shooting of 40 innocent people in 1984, killing 21 of them while they sat eating in a MacDonald’s restaurant, many of which were families enjoying time together and the Edmond Oklahoma postal mass shooting which ultimately was responsible for coining the loathsome term “going postal.”
Although others had indeed occurred prior to these, it was rare to read about mass shootings in the US until these moments frozen in what is now an all too common history of despicable acts catapulting these crimes into the forefront of our lives in ever increasing frequency and severity. Perhaps it’s all in perception, but I have serious doubts about that. Perhaps it’s more active and accurate reporting, but my doubts of that rank extremely high as well.
Most disturbing of all is the trending focus on children with what seems to be some perverse attempt at increasing the stakes, or more aptly stated, the damage, thereby improving the odds of achieving contemptible notoriety.
How do we address a problem in which 2 very distinct root causes are shouting at us with all the obvious clarity and uproar as a Saturday college football scoring drive; disturbingly easy access to, not just firearms, but firearms that are designed for one purpose only – to kill human beings and the issue of mental health? As polarized as our politics are, partisan polarization pales in the face of this issue and the resulting stalemate is nothing short of approaching 1000 disasters.
That’s 1000 people who, by all rights, should still be here with us, enjoying their lives and families.
Will this trend turn around when we face the facts that the NRA is an advocate for gun manufacturers and NOT the Second Amendment? Will the violence curtail when the country’s politicians stop ignoring mental health as though it’s a pariah with roots in the bubonic plague of the 14th Century?
Will it end when the public stops trivializing mass shootings as “going postal?”
It will end when we stop ignoring facts in the very statistics we underrate and carve apart with zeal in order to defend our polarized stance rather than demanding action to save lives?
Some will say that this is just another “blip on the radar” defending the completely unnecessary and insanely illogical access to virtually any and all types of firearms while regurgitating the often, yet sadly and absurdly inaccurate dogma of the NRA “if we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.”
Is it worth even one more so-called “anomaly;” one more ignored rampage to dig our heels into the mud as one mass shooting after another take place?
This is a question we cannot simply continue to brush aside and I say that the mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, sons and daughters of those 950 plus victims have a unique perspective, and more right than most to which not only ask, but expect real answers rather than more foolish dogma and polarization.