Posts Tagged gun control debate

When tragedy becomes mundane

Another week, another round of disturbed people firing guns in public places.

The New York Times described Richard Shoop’s escapades in the Garden State Plaza mall as grimly familiar, and the same could be said for the shooting at LAX that left a TSA security guard dead.

These types of events have apparently become so common that–even when two of them happen in less than week–barely anyone bats an eyebrow.

Politically, the eyes of the nation are still on yesterday’s elections and the functionality of Healthcare.gov.

Sometimes, there’s concern that policymakers need to strike while anvil is hot; that public interest in an important issue will wither outside the emotional rawness of a tragedy.

Who could have predicted that would still happen, even as the nation’s mentally ill gun owners continue to supply new tragedies.

It’s hard to believe that these shootings could become mundane, but that seems to be exactly what is happening.

However, no matter how mundane they become, they won’t go away. As long as the twin factors of mental illness and firearms are allowed to interact, America will have to deal with these tragedies.

Having a discussion on gun control and the treatment of mental illnesses may be an uncomfortable  prospect for the electorate, but is it as uncomfortable as having to wonder if today’s shopping trip will end in bloodshed?

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When you’re running out of things to say about mass shootings

Sadly, the mass shooting earlier this week was not surprising. These horrific events are becoming so commonplace that even The Onion has the narrative down pat.

We’ve seen it all before: A mentally unstable individual whose behavior was just innocuous enough not to trigger alarm bells. A place no one ever expected gun violence to occur. Senseless killing.

As with Columbine, Aurora, Fort Hood, Sandy Hook, and the countless other mass killings resulting from the lethal mix of mental illness and firearms, the question is: Will we do anything about it?

At this point, I’m beginning to think the answer is “probably not.”

A mass killing usually stirs emotions on both sides of the gun control debate, leading people to pledge for stricter regulations, or have rallies at Starbucks.

With the country already preoccupied with Syria, the fifth anniversary of the Great Recession, and the impending implementation of Obamacare/goverment shutdown, the Washington Navy Yard shooting didn’t even get that much attention.

Even if it did, it would probably be stymied by a gun lobby that thinks the people it represents are the center of the universe, and an opposition all too eager to let the gun lobby turn the debate into a marathon of consolation. Then people would lose interest. Until it happened again.

When the random killing of innocent people follows a predictable narrative, what else is there to talk about?

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