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Monday, November 06, 2017

Mishandling Mayhem

Yesterday brought yet another mass shooting, this time in a small town in Texas. The killer — whose name I won’t mention — had been kicked out of the military after he beat up his wife and child. But that sort of offense is not enough to keep you from being turned down when you apply for permission to buy a gun, even though domestic violence is one of the top predictors of whether men then go on to harm others outside their own home.

The saddest thing about this incident it how strikingly similar the response to it will be. The NRA will tell the politicians it keeps in its pocket to publicly proclaim “this is not the time to talk about gun control” and try to shame anyone who does talk about it by saying they are “politicizing an American tragedy.”

Since the shooter is dead, we won’t hear President Trump proclaim the next day that he deserves the death penalty (our system of jurisprudence be damned!). That’s what he did last week, after the attack in New York in which eight people were killed by a man who drove a rented truck onto a bike path with the intent of taking out as many people as possible, If you knew nothing about the guy, you could be sure by Trump's remarks that the killer had brown skin. Therefore, the guy's obviously a terrorist, so he must die immediately!

So much for not politicizing tragedies.

I couldn't help but remember that Trump had not called for the death penalty:

  • last week, when an "angry loner," with no furniture but a house full of bibles killed three people in a Colorado Walmart;
  • in August, when a white supremacist drove a car into a crowd in Charlottesville with the same murderous intent, but only killed one woman;
  • also in August, when a teenager shot six people, killing two, in a public library in Clovis, New Mexico.
In those cases, the surviving assailants were white, so they couldn't have been terrorists, right? I'd argue that anyone who commits these heinous crimes is by definition a terrorist, regardless of skin color or religious beliefs. In America, they must be prosecuted for their crimes with the same possible penalties -- that is, it can't be just the Muslim who gets the death penalty tweet from the Loudmouth-In-Chief.

I could go on and on with that mass shooting list. You may be shocked -- as I was -- to hear that there have been more than 300 mass shooting incidents in the United States this year alone, according to the Gun Violence Archive. We’re 310 days into 2017, so that’s almost one a day!

With that in mind, let’s go back to the people who claim that "this is not the time to have a discussion about gun violence and gun control." What they don't say is that, by their logic, because there’s a mass shooting almost daily, we can never have that discussion.

That has to change.