I can barely contain my rage and my fear this morning. After the horrific mass shooting yesterday in El Paso, I awoke this morning to news of another mass shooting, this one in Dayton, Ohio. My nephew and his wife life in a suburb of Dayton. I sent both of them a text message this morning, asking them to confirm that they are okay. I haven’t heard back yet. I hope that’s because they are asleep. I hope they were already in bed when that mass shooting in Dayton’s Oregon District took place in the early hours of this morning. Until I hear they are safe, I will be in fear of the news. But my rage will not subside. My rage is like the spray from a shotgun, not like the focused shot from a rifle. I am angry at state and national politicians, the gun lobby (especially the NRA and its disciples), Second Amendment nuts (and that’s what those bastards are) who value their “rights” to bear arms far more than they value human life, and everyone else who spouts off platitudes that “guns don’t kill, people kill,” as if that trite nonsense is an adequate stand-in for a rational argument.
My rage will have no impact, of course. The horse is out of the gate. The country is awash in guns, including semi-automatic and automatic long guns, that I’m afraid will never be turned in. I’ve reached the point of advocating for confiscation of weapons that should be illegal. But confiscation will not happen. Because we are afraid, and rightfully so, of the insane bastards who boast that they will give up their guns only when pried from their “cold, dead hands.” If that’s what it takes, I think I’m on board with it.
We have allowed a gun culture to blossom. We have encouraged and groomed a culture in which concealed carry is viewed as a legitimate protection against violence, rather than the trigger for violence it probably is, in reality. The false sense of security that “carry,” whether concealed or open, gives has lulled too many people into buying into the irrational Second Amendment argument.
Mental health is, obviously, a crucial part of the issue. People do not execute mass murders unless something is very wrong with their psyches. But sane people do not provide easy and legal pathways to weapons for the psychologically damaged among us. Sane people do not aid and abet the mentally deranged by ensuring ready access to weapons suited only to mass murder and overwhelming military power.
I just heard that my nephew and his wife are safe at home. At least one worry is off my mind. I can only imagine the grief and pain and emptiness gripping the family and friends of the people killed and injured in a few short hours in El Paso and Dayton. Those people will be offered thoughts and prayers, but they won’t be offered hope because there is no hope on the horizon. Only more bloodshed and emptiness.