Three mass shootings in a week. El Paso, Texas, Gilroy, California, and now Dayton, Ohio, where many of my friends live (none were present at the shooting). Actually, America averages more than one mass shooting a day; these three simply made it to the front page due to their larger-than-usual death tallies.
The young man who killed 9 and injured 27 in Dayton last weekend was suspended from high school for posting lists of people he wanted to kill and girls he wanted to rape. Later, the school was put on lockdown when he announced his plans for a mass shooting. He regularly sang in “pornogrind” bands performing songs that celebrate rape and torture.
Should he have been allowed to purchase 100-round magazines and a semi-automatic weapon advertised by its manufacturer as “the sound freedom makes” while producing “an orchestra of metal and hellfire”? Should he have been allowed to kill and wound dozens of people in 32 seconds?
32 seconds. That’s how long it was before the police, who were nearby when he opened fire, took him down. Is greater availability of guns for the masses the solution? Ohio has a liberal concealed carry law. No one could have (or did) stop him before the police did.
9 dead and 27 wounded in 32 seconds.
Yes, we have a cultural problem, and further tightening gun laws and establishing consistent psych evaluation-based red flag laws alone will not solve the problem. Not even close. But because our culture has changed, our laws must change, too. This is not the 1950s, and these killers are not Boy Scouts with 22s.
If we can address even a fourth of the issue—while we’re tackling the long-term issues of a society out of balance—we must try.
There might even be a fringe benefit.
In order to produce any significant change, leaders would have to shake off their party-regulated stupors, to re-think and broaden their agendas, to focus on caring for their fellow humans more than scoring political points. And that might just be…
The most significant change of all.