Like much of America, I have spent the last few days thinking about the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio.
For those of us in this area, every report of a mass shooting hits close to home. The wounds from Santa Fe are still fresh, and any new report of similar violence brings back memories and fears few have experienced.
Any time there is a mass shooting, whether in your backyard or halfway across the country, the political outcry is disastrous. It appears no one with any power is actually trying to find a solution. Instead, they are using every disaster to score political points.
My question with each new shooting is first and foremost, why? Why would someone do that? My second question is how do we stop it? Unfortunately neither has an easy answer.
It’s clear the shooter in El Paso was a racist who wanted to stop Hispanics from entering the United States. It’s also clear the shooter in Dayton was a left-wing fanatic who hated Donald Trump and supported Antifa.
But that doesn’t answer any questions. Unfortunately, our country still has racists as well as people who hate Trump. And you know what? While both of those groups are disgusting, at least to me, almost none take up weapons and kill a bunch of people.
So why these two? What made them do the unthinkable? Yes politicians on both sides say irresponsible and stupid things. That’s always been the case. But it doesn’t make their followers turn violent.
I’ve heard a lot of speculation and reasoning, but most seem to be grasping for straws. Video games? I can see where video games may make it easier for people to think about shooting others. But then again — millions and millions of people play video games every day and almost none of them turn into murderers.
Lack of prayer in school? I think this has harmed our country, but we now have generations of children who grew up without prayer in school and almost none are killers.
Pyschiatric drugs? Again, not a huge fan, but few on them turn out to be killers.
After thinking about it over and over, there just doesn’t seem to be a clear-cut answer. Maybe the answer is simple — evil people, regardless of politics, do evil things.
So then we ask, what can be done to stop the next shooting? For many, the answer is simple — stronger gun laws. But realistically, no gun law that is currently in Congress or any realistic law that has been proposed would have stopped most mass shootings. Expanded background checks would not have stopped the shooter in El Paso or Dayton.
An assault weapons ban? While that would have stopped certain guns being used, I doubt it would have stopped the shootings. One needs to look no further than Santa Fe to see without a doubt mass shootings can cause death, destruction and fear without an assault weapon.
Red-flag laws? I’m kind of intrigued by this concept, but I’ve yet to see a proposal that would work. It’s easy to say if someone is a danger to themselves or others, they should not have a gun. I think most people would agree with that.
But a couple of concerns. No. 1, is it even constitutional. Can you remove someone’s constitutional right if they have not committed a crime? I honestly don’t know the answer. Who gets to decide if someone’s a threat? Who gets to report them? If I get into a fight with a co-worker or a neighbor, can I report them as a danger. If a couple breaks up, can the jilted partner make a report?
If you can answer those questions, here’s the biggest. Does the law contain a way to get help, counseling or otherwise, so the person can regain a constitutional right?
I really would like to find an answer, but I’m not certain there is one. So where do we go? Assuming we’re not going to amend the Constitution and remove the right to bear arms, what do we do? If you have an idea, a real idea, let me know.