The missing element in weekend shootings

Posted: June 8, 2014 in 2nd Amendment, Las Vegas shooting, Open carry, Seattle Pacific shooting
Tags: ,

There was one thing missing in the news about random shootings in Seattle and Las Vegas this weekend.

The settings were run-of-the-mill: In Seattle, the killing field was a small Christian college. In Las Vegas, the action moved from a restaurant to a Wal-mart.

The numbers were pretty ordinary: One dead and three injured at the college and five fatalities (including the shooters) in Nevada.

The way the incidents ended fit traditional patterns: At the college, a student monitor armed only with a can of mace and boundless courage stopped the shooter when he tried to reload, giving others a chance to pin him to the ground. In the Wal-mart, the couple killed themselves after gunning down two police officers eating lunch and one bystander in the retail store.

The reasons were the usual: The Seattle gunman had psychiatric problems, and the couple thought they were starting a “revolution.”

The ONLY missing element: Where were the concealed-carry advocates?

You know, the ones who rabidly insist that their sidearms can put a stop to such carnage before it begins? Maybe they all slept in. Or maybe they lack the courage of one lone, unarmed student. Or maybe — just maybe — their premise is wrong.

Maybe — when our consumer society is flooding our nation with unprecedented fire power for anyone who has the money to buy it — one or two random deaths are the price we pay for our misinterpretation of the Second Amendment. After all, in a public setting, at least one innocent citizen has to die before we can tell whether this is just a bunch of upstanding Texans treating their assault rifles to lunch or a “crazy” aiming to go into the history books as a mass murderer. We can’t know until the trigger is pulled and the first victim falls.

Americans love to gamble. They have turned funding education into a lottery. A handful of folks get tremendous payouts. A bunch of middle-class kids get help with college. And the masses of poor people get juked out of their money.

Now we are transforming the Second Amendment into a lottery — with a difference. Most of us will WIN this game of chance — we won’t be shot in a college classroom building or a Cici’s Pizza or (in my case) a church sanctuary. But the cost of misunderstanding the Second Amendment is death for some of our citizens — random, gruesome death for the victims, unimaginable sorrow for friends and relatives, and an anxiety that eats at the rest of us when we go into public spaces.

Carry permits won’t cure the problem. Increased funding for mental health evaluations and treatment won’t fix it, though God knows it is needed. The only fix is controlling the availability of assault weapons. Even then, there are ways to wreck mayhem on innocent people. But limiting firearm availability is the only way to curtail this gun/power equation that is killing so many people.

UPDATE (10 June 2014) — An Associated Press timeline now indicates that the third victim in Las Vegas was, in fact, a citizen carrying a weapon. He was killed when he attempted to intervene with one of the shooters. His death and the death of the two armed police officers support the main thesis of this post: Our lackadaisical  attitude toward allowing unrestricted access to assault-capable weapons is allowing people intent on violence to get their hands on weapons. Even armed officers are not match for the surprise attack of shooters intent on killing innocent people. As long as the guns are available, the killings will continue.

  1. Susan Barnes, unvarnished liberal says:

    Well said, BD. But if a school full of dead first graders doesn’t turn the tide, I don’t know if anything will.

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