Where do we begin?

In the wake of an appalling weekend in America — with 22 people gunned down in El Paso, Texas, and nine more shot dead in Dayton, Ohio — we begin, apparently, by going through the familiar motions. Politicians send their “thoughts and prayers” to the victims. Other politicians demand yet again for tougher gun-control laws like banning assault weapons. Then, staunch defenders of gun-owner rights declare that it’s too soon to discuss such issues and that bringing them up after the grievous tragedy in (fill in the latest city) is a ghoulish act of political opportunism.

Well, if it IS too soon to talk about the latest mass shooting, let’s talk instead about the next one. (Admittedly, this was tough to do after El Paso on Saturday morning, since Dayton happened just hours later.)

How are we going to protect innocent people in “soft target” places such as stores, schools and churches — practically anywhere people congregate for any reason?

Where do we find all the “good guys with guns” we keep hearing about? And by this, we don’t mean the police, who, by all accounts, did a tremendous job in their responses at El Paso and Dayton this past weekend. In both instances, they wasted little time in confronting the attackers; in Dayton, the shooter was stopped after about 30 seconds, but the awful damage was already done. (The attackers ALWAYS have the element of surprise working for them.) Instead, we refer to the notion that an armed citizenry will halt these attacks. Texas is an open-carry state, and there were no doubt people who were at that Walmart who were carrying weapons. In fact, one such man said in an interview he was more concerned with getting his kids to safety than he was about confronting a gunman. The stress of these situations is extraordinary for law enforcement; what would it be like for ordinary, armed or unarmed citizens?

What can lawmakers do to proactively confront the epidemic of gun violence in this country? By any measure, laws that facilitate greater gun proliferation aren’t working.  

Certainly, there are numerous motivations behind the shootings that have become a grim part of our modern life. Politicians mention these reasons all the time: mental illness, video games, childhood medication, the lack of prayer in schools, Muslim radicalization and, now, white nationalism. Without question, most of these issues should not be dismissed, although why, for instance, video games and mental illness affect Americans in such a murderous manner while other nations do not struggle with it nearly to this extent is never explained. There is a common thread that slithers through all these reasons. That commonality might be a good thing to investigate.

It’s been argued that the gun debate was lost seven years ago after the massacre at Sandy Hook in Connecticut. The theory states that, if the slaughter of 20 little kids in a school couldn’t motivate our lawmakers to act, then nothing ever will. Perhaps we have no soul to move anymore.

But we don’t believe that, and we can’t accept it.

America is the only country in the world where mass shootings happen on a regular basis. (According to USA Today, the El Paso slaughter was considered the 250th mass shooting in the U.S. — meaning 250 incidents in which four or more people were shot or killed, not including the perpetrator — in the first 215 days of the year.) So, what are we doing wrong? What eludes us that the rest of the world has already figured out?

When will our tears, our wounds, our dead, our “thoughts and prayers,” our scars, our nightmares, our haunted memories finally produce a productive response to an intolerable climate of murder?

Where do we begin?

Or more specifically, where on earth does it all end?

That’s what we as a nation have to decide. And the longer we procrastinate, more people who otherwise should be alive are going to be slaughtered. It’s as simple as that.


(17) comments


We know the common senses steps we can take to reduce gun violence like universal background checks but without confronting the gun lobby and the politicians they support: Donald Trump, John Thune, Mike Rounds, Kristi Noem, etc... the killing will continue. We have chosen again and again to do nothing.


dmilroy: In a round about way you are claiming that the root cause of the gun violence is the gun lobby and the four Republicans named, President Trump, Senator Thune, Senator Rounds and Governor Noem. You state with out confronting them the killing will continue. You confront them every day with your writings, why hasn't the killing stopped? Your view doesn't hold water, in other words it's a leaking bladder. Hopefully you will find some depends to help you with that problem. I find it interesting that you steer clear of the mental health component. It's because you are more interested at putting the blame on the politicians you hate instead of on the people who are doing the killing. Please reach down, grab your ears and pull your head out of your rear end. And by the way, you appear to be the epitome of doing nothing but stirring the pot.


"You confront them every day with your writings, why hasn't the killing stopped?" You misunderstand my argument. With the gun lobby and the politicians they support like President Trump, Senator Thune, Senator Rounds and Governor Noem in power any common sense policy to decrease gun violence with be stopped. We saw it after the the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, after the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, and after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.

Of course the gunmen are responsible for the murders they commit but that does not lessen our responsibility to address gun violence. Your insults are not a sign of a well-reasoned post.


dmilroy: What you see as a common sense policy to deal with gun violence may be seen as an approach lacking common sense by others. We have to deal with a society that plays violent video games that lack an ethical or moral component. We are desensitizing our young people. The object of the game is to kill as many of the other side as possible no matter what. And if I, as the player, am killed, that is ok, because I will just restart the game and everyone is back alive. There is no sense of right or wrong or just or unjust. And there is no sense of loss. What if the game had penalties that made the computer unusable for a period of time for violating rules of engagement or unusable forever for unlawful killings? What if the computer is made unusable forever if you are killed in the game? Would those produce a sense of "loss" that would counter the desensitizing effects of the games in their current state?

I grew up driving to high school with my rifle and shotgun in the gun rack of my vehicle. After school I would go hunting. We had fights in school, but no went running to their car to get their gun. We had the AR-15 in the 1970's. Since then the AR-15 has remained pretty much the same. So for nearly the last 50 years the guns have remained pretty much the same while society has had huge changes. Both Democrats and Republican are to blame for the huge negative changes. It is society that needs fixing.


Japan, Ireland, Chile, Morocco, etc... have societies that play violent video games that lack an ethical or moral component. Their young are desensitized as much as our young people. Yet they have very little gun violence and mass shootings are extremely rare or don't exist.

The number of guns in America have not remained the same since the 1970's. For example: Between 2012 and 2017, U.S. civilians bought 135 million guns, 2 million more guns than the combined stockpile of all the world's armed forces. https://freebeacon.com/culture/report-nearly-400-million-civilian-owned-guns-america/

Your arguments defy common sense. They are accuses to do nothing. We are only powerless against gun violence because we choose to be.


dmilroy: I am not powerless against gun violence because I choose not to be. I will defend myself and my family with as much fury as is coming my way. You can be as powerless as you choose to be.. You have to ask yourself, who will stand up for you if you won't stand up for yourself. With the numbers you present I can only say we just might be prepared to defeat any invasion or any insurrection from with in.


Mr. Johnson, Do guns make us safer? Science suggests no. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/do-guns-make-us-safer-science-suggests-no/

Given the mass shootings in schools, churches, concerts, movie theaters, workplaces, etc... Do you really think can be everywhere your family is on any given day to protect them? Many people at the country music concert in Las Vegas were armed were they protected by their firearms?

We have an armed forces with tanks and B-52s to protect us from invasion or insurrection. Beyond your "Red Dawn" day dreams, your gun more of a threat to me and you than something that protect us. https://phys.org/news/2019-02-gun-home-safer.html


More evidence that it is society that needs fixing. Mass murder, as defined by the FBI, in California as man stabs 4 people to death while on an anger filled robbery spree. I'm sure there are those, (Democrats and the liberal left), who will want to blame this on the President and republicans for failing to control the number of knives possessed in this country or for the various Republican receiving political contributions from the culinary industry. I'm just waiting for one of the bright Democrats ( and Bernie) running for to proclaim...We need to do something about reducing access to semi-automatic knives leading to multiple deaths. Based on their history I'm sure that will pop up somewhere.


DLJohnson, you've gone from weak talking points to pure fantasy. When was the last time one man stabbed 58 people to death at the music festival and injured an additional 851 people, 422 of them with stab wounds? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_Las_Vegas_shooting

You act like President Trump, Senator Thune, Senator Rounds and Governor Noem are the victims of our epidemic of mass shootings. They're not. Their pro-gun policies prevent common sense solutions like universal background check that are supported by most Americans. https://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2017/oct/03/chris-abele/do-90-americans-support-background-checks-all-gun-/

As long as we live in a fantasy world and as long as the gun lobby and their politicians are in power, they will block taking any action. Not because we don't have solutions that would reduce gun violence but because we choose to do nothing.


dmilroy: Your point is that the gun lobby and "their" politicians in power are such a majority of the country that your minority does not have the following to be what would be in your mind successful. Because your view on something isn't successful in the political realm doesn't mean that we as a country choose to do nothing. Universal background checks is a good idea and will work on people (law abiding) trying to obtain a gun lawfully. It won't stop the obtaining of guns through criminal acts. And if you think it will, you are in fantasy land and suffering from a special kind of stupid.

Let's hear your solution for stopping gun violence? You come across as having the answer. Lay out your plan with the necessary contingencies. Show some backbone and put it out there. No politics, let's hear your problem solving.

I hope that you are not claiming that it is only important if 58 people are killed but it is not important if only 4 people are killed. We need to address the issues of why people are killing.


DLJohnson, You misunderstand my argument. The gun lobby and their politicans represent a an increasing minority of Americans. For example, I provided a scientific poll showing 90% of Americans support universal background checks (including you). However, mass shooting after mass shooting President Trump, Senator Thune, Senator Rounds, former Congresswoman Noem and the gun lobby blocked attempts to impliment universal background checks.

Closing background check loopholes to keep guns out of dangerous hands. Banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Making schools safer. Increasing access to mental health services. Extreme Risk Protection Orders: a process by allowing families, household members, or law enforcement officers to petition a court directly for an extreme risk protection order (ERPO) which temporarily restricts a person’s access to guns. Allow federal research on gun violence and many more... https://www.preventioninstitute.org/focus-areas/preventing-violence-and-reducing-injury/preventing-violence-advocacy

Clearly there is a difference between the killing power a high-power, semi-automatic rifle with high-capacity magazines and a knife. Our schools, place-of-worship, movie theaters, night clubs, Walmarts, etc... are not under threat because of knives.

Mr. Johnson, like you say we are not powerless against gun violence! We can stand-up to those who continue to block common sense measure to reduce gun violence! We are strong and we can protect our families and others!.....unless we once again choose to do nothing.


dmilroy: I really do not believe that you have a plan and only use "common sense approach to reduce gun violence" as you leftist political sound bite. You are a lot like Sen Gillibrand in that regard. She states that her plan as president is to deal with gun violence through legislation and executive order. She never states what will be the substance of her legislation (brought forth or supported) will be and she never states the substance of the executive orders she would impose. That is why the Democrats are not believable.

Prove that you have a plan with the necessary contingencies or admit that you are puppet being controlled by the liberal left and just spewing their propaganda.


Gun violence is not a Democratic or Republican issue. It is an American reality. Your assertions about Sen. Gillibrand don't hold water. Gillibrand once received an "A" rating from the NRA, she received an "F" rating as of 2018 because she supports common sense gun reforms. https://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/issues/gun-reform

Reducing gun violence is not an impossible task our political leaders. We need elected officials that are not in the pocket of the gun lobby to move forward. We do nothing again and again because we choose to do nothing. Let's change that and protect our families by reducing gun violence.


dmilroy: Your scientific polls are only accurate with the finite number of the people polled. Scientific polls were used to predict that Hillary Clinton would win 2016 Presidential Election...didn't turn out that way did it? I did enjoy watching all the people crumble after relying on their scientific polls and then being faced with the final result

Who cares if the NRA gave and "A" or and "F" rating? Who cares what the NRA thinks? The upper echelon of the NRA will bring about the demise of that organization all by themselves.

I've heard on news channel that some are thinking that we heading toward a second civil war. I hope with all my heart that is not true. Take a look at the great divide in America and how radicals both on the right and on the left keep fanning the flame and tell me that it is not possible.


DLJohnson if you best argument is to argue with a poll the shows 90% of Americans agree with universal background check (a group in which you include yourself) then you're scrapping the bottom of the barrel. You brought up Senator Gillibrane no me.

America is a strong nation with strong institutions dedicated to representative democracy. We beat Spain, the Kaiser, the Great Depression, the Axis and the Communists. We can reduce gun violence with both hands tied behind our back.


dmilroy: Your poll claims 90% of the U.S. population agrees with universal background checks. That means that 296,410,757 people are in favor of universal background checks and only 32,934,528 are not in favor. With that much disparity, why don't we have universal background checks then without loop holes? That does not make sense. I think your scientific poll is experiencing a scientific malfunction.


DLJohnson The gun lobby and the politicians they support: Donald Trump, John Thune, Mike Rounds, Kristi Noem, etc... have blocked each attempt at universal background check. Despite the opinion of you, me and most Americans. If we are tired of gun violence, then we can choose to take action. Starting with political leaders who are not in the pockets of the gun lobby.

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