It’s just mind-numbing.
We went to sleep last night processing the day’s news about the latest mass shooting in the U.S. By the time we woke up this morning, there had been another one.
At least 29 people dead, scores more injured, in less than 24 hours, in shooting sprees by two deranged men in U.S. cities 1,600 miles apart.
Families doing back-to-school shopping at the local Walmart in El Paso. Young adults enjoying a night on the town in downtown Dayton, Ohio. Suddenly shots ring out, chaos ensues, innocent people are slain.
Shoppers at a Walmart, people strolling along a downtown street after dinner, families attending a popular agricultural festival, fans at a music festival, people at work in an office, worshipping at church, in a synagogue or a mosque. Children and teachers in classrooms.
Then events unfold in a familiar pattern. Before police are even finished piecing together what happened, everyone is arguing about why the slaughter recurs and how to stop it. In between, there are lots of “thoughts and prayers.” There will be vigils. Candles will be lit. Tears will be shed.
Then it will happen again.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
The carnage could just as easily happen here as anywhere else.
Despite all the noise, some things are clear. First, there are no easy solutions. Second, as citizens we are right to demand leadership from the people we elect to govern our nation. Third, we aren’t getting it.
Instead of leadership, we just get more noise. They are part of the soundtrack.
There are many reasons why our government is particularly ineffective when it comes to addressing this particularly vexing problem.
But if there were any time when we need leadership, that time is now.
Americans are armed to the teeth. Hate flows through the veins of some of us. Mental illness affects others. The combination of weapons, hate and depravity is deadly. The resulting lawlessness is terrifying. This is the “American carnage” we should all fear and this is the reason we must all, each of us, demand that our representatives in Washington and state capitols act.
Tone down the rhetoric. Stop the posturing. Don’t stoke the fires. Please, just do your jobs.
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