MICHAEL A. COHEN
Eric Gay/Associated Press
I’m not going to write about guns today.
I’m not going to write about the latest mass shooting in America.
I’m not going to write that 3 of the 5 deadliest shootings in modern US history have happened in the last two years.
I’m not going to write about how it’s been a mere 36 days since nearly 600 people were killed or wounded in a mass shooting in Las Vegas and we barely talk about it anymore.
I’m not going to write that there have been as many shootings in America this year as there have been days.
I’m not going to write about the fact that more than 33,000 Americans are killed every year, or that approximately 90 people die every day, from gun violence.
I’m not going to write that Congress’s reaction to this unending carnage and what have become practically routine mass shootings is indifference and a stubborn refusal to do anything about it.
I’m not going to write that Americans agree about almost nothing when it comes to politics but that 90 percent of us support universal background checks for gun purchases.
I’m not going to write about the fact that a small minority of gun fetishists and policy narcissists has made it impossible to pass even the most anodyne gun control legislation.
I’m not going to write about how, on the state level, gun control advocates are expending energy not to tighten gun control laws but rather are fighting efforts to allow guns in schools and universities or broaden the ability to carry a concealed weapon.
I’m not going to write about how the National Rifle Association’s response to mass shootings is a call for more people to be armed, as if the ubiquity of guns and the ease with which Americans can purchase them isn’t the root of this country’s gun violence.
I’m not going to write about how having a gun in one’s home makes it far more likely that someone in that home will die from gun violence.
I’m not going to write that the reaction to mass shootings in America looks nothing like the reaction to terrorist attacks, which are far more rare.
I’m not going to write about how saying that the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun represents an infantile fantasy about gun violence and has never been borne out by actual evidence.
I’m not going to write about the fact that there are people with mental illnessin every country in the world, but that no other country in the world has anything even remotely close to the number of gun deaths that we have in America.
After all, I’ve written these pieces.
I wrote it after Las Vegas; after a congressman was shot in Virginia; after Orlando; after San Bernardino; after 10 people were killed in a community college in Oregon; after Charleston; after a North Carolina man shot his three Muslim neighbors; after a 2-year old shot and killed his mother in a Walmart in Idaho; and after Sandy Hook.
The locale changes, but the story never does – a disaffected man (usually white) arms himself with a high-caliber weapon (often an AR-15), shoots up a school, church, college, work party, or concert. Scores are killed and wounded. Reporters dig through the killer’s past to find clues as to why he did it. Democratic politicians talk about gun control. Republicans call for thoughts and prayers. People use Twitter or Facebook to vent their frustrations at how this keeps happening. The Onion reposts its infamous “ ‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.” It gets tons of retweets.
For a few days everyone is talking about guns. And then we’re not. Until the next mass shooting and the cycle is repeated again.
So I’m not going to talk about any of this. Americans know this story already. They understand the need for change and stronger gun control laws. They understand that this kind of routine carnage is not normal and shouldn’t be happening in America. But until they force their political leaders to make reducing gun violence a priority; until they refuse to support politicians under the thumb of the National Rifle Association, it’s only going to continue.
When that happens, well, that will be a story worth writing about.
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