The news coverage jumps around every few days, every year, for mass shootings from Connecticut to Colorado to California; the BBC covers our big events as if it’s just another routine day in the life of our nation. And inbetween, every day 90 people are shot on the streets of small towns and big cities all over our country. Mostly suicides, some crimes of passion, gang violence, and always the occasional “accidental shooting.” A toddler shoots his baby brother. A child shoots his friend.
And for some reason I can’t forget that baby who found a handgun in his mother’s bag while sitting in a shopping cart, and shot her dead. “There’s a man with a gun over there, telling me I’ve got to beware…”
And now the debate is whether the latest shooting is “workplace violence” or “terrorism?”
This is a moot point! Meaning “…of little or no practical value or meaning; purely academic. Chiefly Law. not actual; theoretical; hypothetical.”
Since I love all things onomatopoeic, the word “moot” has stayed with me; since I first heard it from a Harvard law student. Terror is when our children are forced into lockdown drills in school. Terror is when we fear checking our phones in a movie theatre. Terror is walking through metal detectors on our way to work, avoiding malls or large congregations of people. Muslim, American, Christian, mental patient, domestic abuser, anybody and everybody can get a gun in our country, legally or illegally, through a loophole or in a parking lot – IT’S JUST TOO EASY.
Does it matter if somebody walks into an office Christmas party with an assault rifle and a few bombs, or if that same deranged person strolls into a Planned Parenthood Clinic, or a movie theatre, or an elementary school, or a government building? The “Common Thread” in the carnage is GUNS. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-common-thread-in-americas-unacceptable-carnage-access-to-guns/2015/11/30/3b94cf96-97a5-11e5-b499-76cbec161973_story.html
So far this year, according to news reports collected by a Reddit community, there have been at least 351 mass shootings, or more than one a day. Those account for just a small part of the lives lost or damaged by gun violence. They don’t include, for example, in recent weeks the 6-year-old Georgia girl who apparently shot herself in the head after finding a loaded gun tucked in a couch, or the Ohio State University employee who shot himself in a campus art gallery, or the Tennessee woman murdered by her husband, who then killed himself.
Which type or way to categorize the carnage is irrelevant. We are terrorizing ourselves! Our senators voted down (or against) two proposals to limit gun violence yesterday. One was to expand background checks, the other was to prevent anyone on a terrorist watch list from purchasing guns…and if you’re not mad as hell about this then you are not paying attention. You can see how your senator voted on these bills and call them up if you’d like – http://everytown.org/senate-votes/
What will it take for our country to change course? Even our President seems locked in frustration and futility. We may have to march on Washington once again, sit down on the steps of the Capital and demand leadership. There are days when I feel like I’m getting too old to take action, like hope is a thing of the past. And then there are sunny days, when redemption seems possible.