On December 28, 2012, updated February 27, 2013, I wrote an article with mostly the same title as the instant post, only the former’s location was different (“Let Not The Children Of Sandy Hook Die In Vain”). It garnered hundreds of comments, many of which seemed like I was advocating for the taking of gun owners’ firstborns. After that tragedy, we collectively wrung our hands; listened to scores of media dissect, nonstop, the carnage and the shooter; viewed the major media anchors going to the scene of the crime to do their reporting and analysis; listened to the experts on law enforcement and mass shootings networks and cable stations assembled; heard those in Congress and across the nation offer condolences and sympathies; watched candle-light vigils and laying of flowers; praised the first responders; absorbed the interviews of the grief-stricken parents, loved ones and friends; then heard the names of the fallen and their parents; watched respectfully on our TVs countless funerals days later; and all the while…our elected officials in Congress did absolutely nothing to prevent the next tragedy from occurring other than to say it was not the right time for a discussion on gun control while pocketing donations from the NRA for their campaign coffers.
Roll forward to October 1, 2017. Despite it approaching five years after Sandy Hook, in an open area across from the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas on the last night of a popular country and western concert with 22,000 in attendance, history repeated itself, only the locale and names of the murdered changed. In between, we have once more seen gun-created mass deaths, whether it was at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub in June 2016 (49 killed, 58 wounded), or on a baseball field where the guts of a U.S. Congressman were torn apart like a humpty-dumpty falling off a ledge that then had to be put back together again. And we cannot forget carnage brought about by other gunfire throughout the nation at, for example, religious sanctuaries; at an army base; in public buildings; and, (fill in the blank.) And, yet, the script remains (numbingly, now) the same: We are horrified as a nation; the media dissects the horror and the shooter as they go on-site to interview survivors and families of the victims; we again listen to the experts on how and why it happened or could have happened; we learn, too, the identities of the shooter, and guess how (s)he obtained their fire power; and those that were killed and maimed. And then comes the funerals... And yet once more, Congress does nothing to prevent or curtail the taking of these American lives! We continue to live this “Hollywood ‘script’ “ though in real time. When is this insanity going to end? More likely, when is the next mass killing going to take place, and where?
We see that use of guns know no age, witness the children that died at Sandy Hook, and don’t forget Columbine. We also know that age of a shooter has no cap now, witness those (white) males in their 60s trying to assassinate Republicans on a ball field, or, the other evening, Stephen Paddock on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay becoming responsible for the single largest mass shooting in the nation’s modern history. We also have come to realize that killers don’t have to come from overseas anymore, nor follow any particular religion or way of life. American-made.
So while venues of mass death change and the age of those murdered and those that murder have no boundaries, there is one unalterable constant: guns...and Republicans that don’t want to see the status quo regarding their control change, notably no doubt because they are in the hip pocket of manufacturers (through the NRA and its lobby) that make and sell firearms. Republicans even want to deregulate silencers on guns (“GOP still plans to vote on NRA-backed legislation that eases gun restrictions”), saying it is better for hunters. What lunacy. Just imagine Paddock using silencers in Las Vegas? It would not be 59 dead, but maybe 159 dead. And Republicans remained silent on gun control despite seeing their colleague-nailed by an assassin’s bullets three months earlier-walking on crutches down the aisle in their House chambers last week. They applauded him wildly, but no doubt returned to their daily routines thereafter. Their silence remains deafening even after Las Vegas (“After Las Vegas Massacre, Democrats Urge Gun Laws; Republicans Silent”), only to have the president’s mouthpiece, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, say, as if regurgitating what has been said countless times before and earlier in this post, it is not the time to have a discussion on gun legislation. If not now, when Sarah?
And for those of you that are 2d Amendment freaks, know that even the former, and venerable, conservative Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia, said before his passing that this amendment has boundaries. And we know Trump won’t help; maybe he knows those in his base will not be the ones to be next murdered by a mass killer?
So, as with the children at Sandy Hook whose lives were, indeed, lost in vain, so, it appears will also the lives of those at the concert who are now to be buried. When will Americans get tired of revisiting this script? Only when Americans speak up as they did when their healthcare was under attack by Republican senators, that’s when.