Viewpoint

No relief from gun violence in America

Mourners place flowers at a makeshift memorial near the road leading to Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., where a gunman killed nine people.
Mourners place flowers at a makeshift memorial near the road leading to Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., where a gunman killed nine people. AP

Here we are again trying to make sense out of a culture that supports the unfettered dissemination of instruments meant mainly for killing something.

The presidency of the United States is a “nonstarter” when it comes to guns, an impotent office that hasn’t a prayer of changing the concept that “stuff happens” but not because of firearms. We are expected to tolerate the latest massacre as just the price of maintaining our constitutional rights.

Besides, the real problem is mental health. That’s the latest explanation from those who put weapons of mass destruction ahead of humanity. Are they saying that we should find people with potential violent personalities and shoot them in advance of the next horrific incident? It seems that way.

The spokesmen for those who justify mass murder so manufacturers can sell more weapons deny that inference. But it sure appears they would like to take such a step as the final solution to their opposition. No more restrictive laws, they say. Just get rid of the crazies who misuse their product.

They don’t have to shoot opponents in Congress. There are very few. Why waste ammunition? Just buy them off like they have the rest of the members and give them lifetime memberships in the National Rifle Association at whose alter millions of Americans worship, many of whom obviously do so by cleaning their battlefield beauties regularly in preparation for the next major event.

There is scant evidence that even a proximity to a mass incident by gun bearing “civilians” has altered the outcome. These defenders of the faith who have put their trust not in God but the NRA may want to examine the biblical warnings about false prophecy.

So what now? Should you do what Barack Obama suggests and make certain that you vote against any member of the House or Senate who doesn’t make gun reform a priority?

Probably. But the odds are against that rational appeal. The tragedies of Columbine and Sandy Hook Elementary and the Memphis Church and Virginia Tech and the Aurora theater and the Navy Yard and on and on and on without action certify that as a losing cause.

What we are left with is clearly the expectation that somewhere in our midst another person with a grudge against humanity, or a terrorist or a paranoid psychopath is waiting, using the Internet to whet his appetite for destruction, just as the latest shooter did.

It is so enormously depressing to consider the outcome of all this irresponsibility, to know with near certainty that with 350 million firearms in circulation and unrestricted access to them even by the most unbalanced around us, it is inevitable that what happened at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., is bound to be repeated.

Perhaps after every episode our reaction should be that of Republican presidential nominee Jeb Bush. “Stuff happens,” he said. That of course has been the attitude of most of this nation’s politicians whose cringing fear of the gun lobby has left us bereft over the death of young and not so young innocents once again.

Indeed stuff happens. But it happens here too often.

Email: danthomasson@verizon.net.

  Comments