Sunday, November 29, 2015

Mass Shootings: The Terrorism We Tolerate

Mass shootings since Sandy Hook (Vox)
The reaction of the United States following the Planned Parenthood shootings - a clear act of terrorism, even if the media is squeamish about labeling a white male a terrorist - seems to be a collective shrug. Sure, Obama has come out with strong words against the act. Planned Parenthood has vowed to carry on its mission with renewed vigor. And progressives across the county have called this tragedy what it is: the expected result of lax gun laws combined with a hot-button issue that has incited violence in the past.

What is missing is the political response that was so quick and furious following the Paris attacks. While the same kind of gun was used in Paris as was used in Colorado Springs, there were no calls on tightening gun applications like there were for refugee applications. In fact, many of the presidential candidates have been silent on the shooting.

But, you may be saying, Colorado Springs was not nearly on the scale as Paris. And you'd be absolutely right when looked at in a vacuum. But if you look at America in 2015, 431 people have perished in mass shootings. This is a problem in the United States, and anyone who says otherwise is lying or delusional.

It won't get better. Not in the short term, at least. The time to act on this would have been after a legally purchased firearm helped Adam Lanza kill 6 adults and 20 first graders in cold blood. Instead, the response was calls to put more guns in school, not less. Legislation to expand gun control failed in the Senate. America's elected representatives see victims like those children at Newtown as collateral damage - a necessary, if unpleasant, sacrifice we need to pay to keep our easy access to powerful guns.

We, as Americans, get the elected officials we deserve. If we continue to elect cowards more interested in scoring political points via scare tactics about one kind of religious extremists, while not only ignoring, but enabling, another kind of religious extremist, I'm not sure why we should expect any different than what we saw at Planned Parenthood on Friday. I'd say that we should expect mass shootings in America to become commonplace, but then I'd be ignoring the fact that they already are.

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