Here’s a tip to deal with young mass shooters: don’t sell them machine guns
The US had better snap out of its fatalistic acceptance of mass shootings and change the law
In the days, weeks and months after we lose someone from “natural causes”, we often reach a point where there’s nothing left to be said. We’ve exhausted the platitudes, uncovered any “silver linings” that might be useful in blunting the jagged edges of our grief, tried to reshape our loss into something we could conceivably live with, and reached a kind of acceptance. Death is death; what can you do?
Americans reached that point of silent fatalistic acceptance on gun atrocities some time ago. Only there’s nothing natural about the mass losses they endure: the 29 dead and 53 injured in dual gun massacres that took place in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, less than 15 hours apart over the weekend – less than a week after the last mass shooting. And it’s hard to think of a more unnatural number than the total number of people killed with guns every year in the US: more than 35,000. But in the end, what is there to say? So at some point between December 14 2012 – when Adam Lanza went on the rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School and shot 20 children dead, along with six staff members – and the last mass shooting (at time of writing), many of the Americans I know stopped saying anything at all.
Watching the El Paso fatality numbers rise on the TVs in my local LA supermarket on Saturday afternoon, I expected to overhear snippets of my fellow shoppers’ horror, breath being sucked in through teeth. After eight years out here and countless mass shootings, I suppose I still expected the acknowledgement of horror that would occur between strangers after far lesser national tragedies in most Western countries, when the population becomes grimly united. But nothing. Nobody mentioned El Paso or Ohio at the gym or the drinks I went to on Sunday night. Not because they don’t care or have become immune to the pain caused by gun violence but because they have been inured to it...