Stuff Happens, Like - WTF? - A Mass Shooting in the U.S. Almost Every Day


Photo by Adrees Latif/Reuters

More grief, horror, candles, vigils. Our latest gun-fueled massacre - this one in Oregon - has also prompted some pithy righteous responses: Those lamenting our murderous culture, our Congress owned by the loathsome NRA's "coalition of greed and fear," our failure to summon the collective will to act rationally against insanity. Obama's furious speech captured the bitter truth that "our thoughts and prayers are not enough...This is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America." He rightly called out voters - "If you think this is a problem, then you should expect your elected officials to reflect your views" - and gun owners: "Think about whether your views are properly being represented by the organization that suggests it’s speaking for you."

Noting that as a country we spend over a trillion dollars and pass countless often terrible laws to prevent terrorist attacks, he also challenged the media to post figures for those killed by guns and those killed by terrorists. Several did. Unsurprisingly, they tell a demented tale: Well over ten thousand gun deaths a year, almost zero terrorist deaths. The Guardian came up with even more appalling numbers: 994 mass shootings in 1,004 days, or almost one a day.

Still, the madness continues. The sheriff presiding over the Oregon shooting is a Sandy Hook truther who wrote after that particular catastrophe, "Gun control is NOT the answer to preventing heinous crimes like school shootings," and threatened insurrection if any gun laws were passed. Charlie Pierce notes that "one of our political parties is completely insane," which likely accounts for the fact that out of its "between three and 600 people running for president, none (will) do anything about the problem of mass shootings in America." The reality that such fools, sociopaths and profiteers have a place in our national discourse was reinforced by the jaw-dropping idiocy of Jeb!, who addressed our national crisis of profit-driven blood-letting with, "Look, stuff happens. There’s always a crisis, and the impulse is always to do something, and it’s not necessarily the right thing to do."

Along with such callous inanity, blame the NRA, please. Many do: "Dear Republicans, Planned Parenthood isn't profiting off the deaths of children - you're thinking of the #NRA." In their usual reptilian fashion, the NRA kept a demure who-us?  silence after the latest slaughter they'd facilitated, eventually surfacing to post a video of an animated Eddie Eagle offering gun safety tips to kids. So it is they've been widely savaged as "engines of greed, businesslike and efficient as HIV" who have successfully fought off even minimally common sense gun control laws by owning "a sufficient number of United States senators," and who never budge from an irrational position "driven by deep feelings of fear they can't even admit to, and funded by cemeteries full of money." If Oregon, Aurora, "the little bloody bookbags of Newtown" haven't changed that, what will? Only us.

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Cartoon by Bob Englehart/Hartford Courant

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