Woke this morning to news of yet another mass shooting — this time in Orange County, California. On Wednesday evening, some freak shot up an office building and killed four people, including a child. Two more victims are clinging to life, and the gunman was apparently wounded in a shootout with police.
In most “civilized” societies, the attack would be a shocking, searing national tragedy that would spark immediate government and civilian action to prevent it from ever happening again.
In America, it was just another Wednesday.
Mass shootings have become so commonplace, they barely register in the public consciousness. We care more about the weather than the rain of bullets that periodically end American lives. Just like rain, another shooting will come again soon. And another, and another and another.
Statisticians define any incident in which four or more people are shot as a mass shooting. There have been 125 mass shootings so far this year, including three in the last month, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that tracks gun violence in America. Nearly 200 human beings were erased and more than 400 wounded in those crimes against civilization. It’s only April 1.
Last year saw 614 mass shootings, with 446 fatalities and 2,515 injuries. They’re just numbers now, but once they were our fellow Americans. They were murdered by fellow Americans abusing the Second Amendment, which was written when the most lethal firearm fired one shot at a time and took a minute to load, aim and fire.
As I’ve said innumerable times, I am a staunch supporter of Second Amendment rights and responsible gun ownership. I don’t want to live in a country where the government has all the guns.
I also don’t want to live in a country where any freak can buy a weapon of war and spray a school, supermarket or movie theater with a rain of bullets. Or a nation whose citizens have been conditioned to shrug off mass murder as if it’s no more consequential than a sudden thunderstorm on a sunny day.
It’s Thursday, America. Good luck out there.