When we heard that five people were shot dead in Tulsa, that almost is meaningless. Almost. No, not for glaring in horror at what happened, but for stepping back from the carnage and seeing it next to three people shot at a high school graduation, one of them killed just the day before in New Orleans, which doesn’t even count as a mass shooting. And a mass shooting at a Taft, Oklahoma festival two days before that, with seven shot (at least two of them children) and thankfully “only” one dead. And just days before that, a mass shooting in Houston and in Laguna Woods the same weekend. The same weekend as when 21 schoolchildren and teachers were shot dead in Uvalde. And that came just a week after the ghoulish mass murder in a Buffalo grocery store that killed 10 shoppers.
We so often understandably focus on the tragedy right in front of us, because each tragedy deserves our attention, mourning and respect. But while each individual mass gun shooting puts our attention importantly on the human loss, in some ways it limits the greater tragedy that it’s, in fact, a part of.
And the thing is, all those mass gun shootings and massacres aren’t even the story. That’s because there were other mass shootings in between them – they just didn’t get headlines. The other headlines and grieving were even greater.
And that’s the reality – the mass gun shootings are horrifying. But what they aren’t is shocking. That’s because this year we are averaging 1-1/2 mass shootings…every single day. Those mass gun shootings in Buffalo, Uvalde, Houston, Laguna Woods, Taft and now Tulsa – and remember, New Orleans doesn’t even count! – aren’t out of the ordinary. They…are…the…norm.
Actually, no, that’s not fair to all the people shot. They aren’t the norm. Those are below the norm. Those are six mass shootings. Buffalo occurred on May 14, which is 18 days go. The norm, on average is 27 mass gun shootings between Buffalo and Tulsa. If there were only just those six? That would have been shocking.
It’s almost laughable pointing out that Thoughts and Prayers ™ don’t work.
By now, of course, we know all the reasons for mass gun murders. GOP Edition.
Doors, video games, mental illness, fatherlessness, broken families, wokeness, television, movies, not enough Good Guys with a Gun (no, the 19 policemen waiting for 75 minutes don’t count, the security guard in Buffalo doesn’t count), not enough Thoughts & Prayers ™.
Everything in the world is to blame. Everything. Except guns. And the assault weapon ban ending in 2004. But everything else.
The tragic thing about why mass gun shootings take place with such regularity here is that all the reasons for them only occur in the United States.
Doors, video games, mental illness, fatherlessness, broken families, wokeness, television, movies, -- those only exist in the U.S. The rest of the world is in great shape. They have limited door, no video games, ideal mental health, everyone has a father, every family is a tight unit, no one anywhere else is woke, there is no television or even movies. Just in the U.S. That’s why there are so many mass gun shootings here. Though mainly, it’s too many doors.
And just not enough Good Guys with a Gun (no, the 19 policemen waiting around in Uvalde for 75 minutes don’t count, and the security guard in Buffalo doesn’t count either, That’s because – well, come up with your own reason, it doesn’t matter).
And come up with your own explanation for how 75% of all mass gun shootings are committed by people with no mental health issue. They don’t count because they get in the way of a more convenient story that people can understand if you say it enough. Just leave out that one of the very first bills passed by Republicans when Trump came to office was to allow those with mental health issues so severe they require a guardian to have access to a gun. That’s a separate matter.
I’m not even going to get into the “But the Second Amendment!!!” Yes, it’s in the Constitution. Yes, the Founding Fathers are sacrosanct. Yes, in 1776 they had muskets which only shot one ball at a time, and it took about a minute to reload. And yes, the Founding Father left out mentioning women in the Constitution, didn’t give women the right to vote, didn’t get rid of slavery and said black slaves only counted as three-fifths of a person. But yes, sacrosanct and All Knowing and inviolate.
Though, course, Amendments have been added. And removed. And the Second Amendment did say owning a gun was for being in a militia – and to be regulated. (Wait, no, sorry, well-regulated.) And still, for all that, “my Second Amendment right,” we still have over 30,000 gun deaths a year. And 1-1/2 mass shootings every single day. So, something doesn’t appear to be working quite right. It’s hard to imagine that was the inviolate intent of the sacrosanct Found Fathers. After all, in the Declaration of Independence, they started the document by saying that Life was the very first thing they considered a self-evident truth. Having over 30,000 gun deaths a year seems to contract that.
And the thing is…we have long-since limited gun use and added “gun control.” Not every American has the right to own a handgun. Children, for starters. There are 73 million Americans under the age of 18 in the U.S. That’s a whole lot of Americans who have had their right limited.
Also, anyone convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for at least one year. Or a fugitive. Or anyone committed to a mental institution. Or anyone who got a dishonorable discharge from the Armed Forces. Or whoever is under a court restraining order for harassing, stalking, or threatening a partner or child of the partner. Of anybody convicted of domestic violence. Or…
Or…well, you get the point. No, everyone does not have the right to own a gun. And there are many place it’s against the law to take a gun. And there are “arms” you can’t buy, even though you have the Right to Bear Arms – like, say, a missile.
So, yes, “But the Second Amendment!” But we all know there are limits. Even beyond that whole pesky “well-regulated militia” thing.
And I’m also not going to get into the “The libs want to take away our guns.” Because I challenge anyone who tries to blather that to name one Democrat in a position of authority – ever – who in in a position to pass such a change who has ever said ever that they want to take away all the gun. And if for some reason, somehow somewhere such a person could actually be found decades ago, they are outnumbered like the last digit in Pi is outnumbered.
(Never mind that despite zero people in authority calling for such a thing, it will still take a Constitutional Amendment – with zero public officials in support.)
So, after all that, we’re left with –
Doors, video games, mental illness, fatherlessness, broken families, wokeness, television, movies, not enough Good Guys with a Gun (no, again, please, the 19 policemen waiting for 75 minutes don’t count, the security guard in Buffalo doesn’t count), and not anywhere enough Thoughts & Prayers ™.
Everything but guns.
And every other country on Earth.
And it’s horrific even if we just focused on Uvalde.
Or Sandy Hook. Or Parkland. Or Columbine. Or Buffalo. Or Tree of Life Synagogue. Or the Pulse nightclub. Or Las Vegas. Or Virginia Tech. Or Emanuel AME Church.
Or any gun massacre you prefer to consider.
Or all of them.
When one person (one) tried to take a bomb on an airplane in his shoe one time and failed – we changed the law. Almost immediately. No, it wasn’t a Constitutional issue. Just a human one.
This is today’s Republican Party. And yesterday’s. And the years before that. And tomorrow’s.
I won’t even get into the corporate-owned NRA terrorist organization. Because in the end, it’s about laws and up to the Republican Party to clean the blood off their own bodies.
The one dicey thing about gun safety laws Republicans don’t realize is that if they don’t get involved as soon as possible and support anything reasonable, that 80% of Americans are behind, is that when the situation gets even worse (and it’s hard to imagine that it won’t), then the cries for serious reform risks being so loud and pronounced that it will be out of their control.
The only good thing about writing all this is that I can save it and not have to write a new column when there’s the next mass gun shooting.
Which is likely be in a day or two.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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