Mass Shootings

Written on August 6, 2019

I’ve been thinking a lot about the last few days and the horrific incidents in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio that are on everyone’s mind.  I’ve listened to different “experts” and lots of pundits, politicians and just plain folks.  And here’s what I’ve come up with in my own mind. You may agree. You may disagree. And either is fine because in the end, we are allowed our own beliefs. 

The first thing I was struck by was the readiness of so many to try to find the one thing or person to blame.  Guns. Trump. Men. Republicans. Democrats. Video games. Legislation. The NRA. Racism. Background checks. The list goes on and on. The longer we spend pointing fingers, the longer it will take to find a solution. Or I should say, the solutions. Plural. Because so many of the problems will require multiple solutions.

It’s not just assault style weapons. It’s large capacity magazines.  It’s not just background checks because in states with some of the strictest laws, both shooters would have passed without incident.  It’s not just legal guns – it’s illegal guns. There were dozens of other shootings and killings this past weekend. Most were with illegal hand guns by gang members who have already been in jail.  In Chicago alone 48 people were shot and 9 were killed.  In Baltimore 13 were shot and 6 were killed.

It’s not just white supremacists. It’s people of every race.  And it’s not just guns. Recently in Los Angeles 22 members of the extreme gang MS-13 used machetes, knives and baseball bats to kill and dismember their victims. In this one instance they killed 7 people. But that is not considered a “mass killing”. Why?

Some want to blame the culture of violence created by video games. And perhaps there is some truth to it. Play any of these first shooter games for any length of time and you can become immune to the violence. But not everyone who plays video games become killers. And not every mass murderer played video games. But if you have a son or grandson that spends all of his free time playing these games and not being a part of the family or society, you have a red flag waving in front of you.

Lots of folks blame Trump. But these mass shootings didn’t start with him. And unfortunately they won’t end with him either. But those on both the Right and Left are responsible for the amount of vitriol that I see on the internet – especially social media – every day. There is no civil discourse anymore. We live in a divided society where name calling and bullying has become the norm. Even from the very people who tell their kids not to bully.

You can no longer be for border security without being a white supremacist.  If you’re a Black conservative you are called an Uncle Tom. All Democrats are Socialists. All Republicans are Racist. If you’re a man you must have toxic masculinity.

I saw a tweet that said, “dear all white people – look in the mirror. You’re a racist.”  How does that help anyone? It’s a conversation stopper – not a conversation starter. And if we can’t talk to each other then we are doomed.

In the end the problem is – no one thing or person is to blame. We are all  to blame. And we are all responsible to help make the changes we need for a better world.

Flowers lay near wooden crosses during a vigil outside a Walmart Inc. retail store following a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, U.S., on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019. President Donald Trump endorsed an expansion of background checks for U.S. gun buyers following the massacres in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, but said there’s “no political appetite” to renew a ban on military-style rifles. Photographer: Luke E. Montavon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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