Five children in a mobile home in Graham, Washington. Three police officers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Fourteen citizens and would-be citizens and people wanting to help them in Binghamton, New York. Seven residents and a nurse in a nursing home in Carthage, North Carolina.
In one week, four nutcases who thought a gun was going to fix whatever went wrong in their lives up to that point. This on top of the dozens and dozens of other people with guns inflicting death and pain whom we’ve heard of in recent years. These Americans have managed to do what Al Qaeda has not done in the seven and a half years since 9/11: inflict actual damage in America.
The problem isn’t just the insanely easy access to firearms in this country. It’s not just the influential leaders of the pro-gun lobby constantly drumming up support for unfettered access to firearms of all types, damning any opponents as anti-American. It’s not even just those words in the Constitution, constantly twisted to support everything else in this paragraph.
No, the underlying problem is the belief that Americans have — at least some Americans, definitely many Americans — that, if things get bad, things can be fixed with enough guns and ammunition and dead bodies. It’s what everyone believes our country was founded on. But even though we say it’s for the protection of the citizens in case our freedom is threatened, it’s enabling citizens to blow fellow citizens away without attempting more reasonable solutions to their problems. We don’t have to negotiate, we don’t have to seek help, we don’t have to accept what life has dealt us. We will get our justice with a bullet.
As long as this attitude is as widespread as it is here, how can we feel safe in our streets and public places?