I planned to write about a different topic this week. Then we experienced two mass shootings over the weekend — one in El Paso and the other in Dayton, Ohio. This after a mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, Gilroy, California, on July 28. I had to put my original topic on hold because the Dayton shooting hit extremely close to home.
A large portion of my stepmother’s family lives in Dayton. One of her sisters moved there from Muncie decades ago, and other family members soon followed. We had a family reunion over the weekend in Muncie. Of course not all family members were able to make it to Muncie for the reunion so they stayed home in Dayton. Some family members who did make it returned to Dayton Saturday night instead of staying in Muncie for the two-day reunion.
When the notifications of a mass shooting in Dayton flashed on my iPhone screen, my thoughts went to my family members. While they are safe, what about their friends, family members or co-workers? Contrary to what I believed as a youth, Dayton isn’t a big city. Similar to Muncie, it’s a small city where people often know each other, know of someone or know someone who knows someone. It’s likely that someone in my family has a connection to someone killed or injured. My heart hurts for all those affected by this vile act.
It’s crazy that we’re here. Again. We continue to be here. It’s like we never left. When is this country going to do something besides talk, send heartfelt prayers and condolences?
According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 254 mass shooting incidents in 2019. Gun Violence Archive considers an incident a mass shooting if at least four people — not including the shooter — are killed or injured. In those incidents, 8,904 people were killed, 17,604 were injured, 397 were children under 11 and 1,837 were children ages 12-17.
Those numbers should be a call to action, but they’re not, and they won’t be. If Sandy Hook didn’t change our views on gun control, I’m not sure what will. That, by the way, was in 2012. We keep hearing trite phrases that guns don’t kill people; people kill people. No, a person pulling the trigger of a gun kills people. It’s as American as apple pie to try to gloss over the real problem.
The Supreme Court won’t hear challenges to requirements to store guns in a lockbox, prohibition of concealed weapons and a mandatory waiting period before buying a firearm. Although it passed the House of Representatives, a universal background check bill can’t even make it to the Senate floor.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) says it doesn’t want to politicize the issue. Tell that lie to someone who believes it since politicizing guns is exactly what the NRA’s been doing for decades.
The NRA and its loyalists in the Republican Party often say the answer to stopping mass shootings is everyone taking up arms. That theory may sound good until you realize nine people were killed in Dayton in just 32 seconds. Forty-one shots were fired in 30 seconds. Police were on the scene in less than a minute, but the shooter still had time to kill nine people. I’m no expert on how fast someone can draw their weapon, but I’m betting variables such as surprise, fear, shock and panic could delay a person’s reaction. Are we really trying to have a shootout in the streets? How do we identify the real shooter? These people who want to arm everyone forget real life and theory are two different things.
Then you have fools like Sean Hannity and his ilk calling for armed guards in “every hall of every mall.” I’m sorry, what? So, the answer isn’t to control the flow of guns on the streets, it’s to have armed guards everywhere, imprisoning us all? We’re willing to give up our ability to move freely for the freedom to bear arms? The absurdity of it all would be funny if he wasn’t serious.