Another shooting. An horrific shooting. Lives lost, lives changed, new terror. Again.
Since the shooter is dead we can’t ask, “so what exactly lead you to this point?” We can make assumptions, we can infer and guess but we can’t totally know and I’m not sure it even really matters. The people who are injured, the people who are dead, the people this touches, all of us – it doesn’t matter because at this point it is just done. Now what do we do about it? We ask this question for the next few weeks and then we move on to whatever is next int he news cycle and nothing changes.
Some will say that the FBI failed given that they investigated this individual two or three times. But we can’t arrest people and lock them up because of what they might do, or what they might think, that is not how we do things in America (note to Mr. Trump). Some might say that Hillary won’t be tough enough since she is talking about improving agency communication and providing more resources, but short of putting steps in place to get more information I don’t know what we could do. Again, arresting people for maybe being someone who might someday do something seems rather contrary to the rule of law and the systems of justice we have in place. And while those systems are not perfect they are pretty good compared to some of the alternatives.
Some are currently calling to ban certain specific groups from this country. That is disgusting. It is anti-american, it is un-american and it will do nothing but breed hate. Some are saying that there are people who are walking around with hate in their hearts and thus banning everyone who shares certain characteristics is an appropriate response. I guess that means that Mr. Trump and his acolytes should be removed from the country since they certainly seem to have a great deal of hate in their hearts.
Here’s the thing I think we need to talk about: guns and the ease with which high-powered automatic weapons can be obtained. I respect the 2nd Amendment and I firmly believe that the citizens of this country do indeed have the right to bear arms. I understand the reason why the amendment was included in the Bill of Rights and I see no reason to debate the continued existence thereof. However, understanding and interpreting are two different things. 200 hundred years ago there were no such things as automatic rifles that fired tens if not hundreds of rounds of ammunition in the blink of an eye. The ability to defends oneself against a repressive government did not require individuals to maintain personal arsenals with the ability for mass destruction. I have not ever hunted but I am pretty sure you don’t use machine guns to do so.
If the shooter of the most recent tragedy had only a handgun people would still be dead, but not 49. And people would still be injured, but not 53. This would still be horrific and it would still be tragic and it would still be unacceptable. But the extent of the damage would be decreased and when are we going to come out of our principled corners to have a real conversation about how we make this better, as Americans, all of us together compromising, respecting each other and trying to make it a little bit better, at least.