Another school shooting demands a call to legal action

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Berl Falbaum

Let’s cut through all the outrage that we have heard so often and come straight to the point:  We are a sick country – a very sick country.

Cut it any way you want. But a country that has witnessed such a loss of lives from gun violence for decades and does not act is sick. The issue goes well beyond politics.  

As President Biden said in his address to the nation this week, “It’s just sick.”

Or as Fred Guttenberg, who lost his 14-year-old daughter, Jamie, in the 2018 Parkland shooting, observed, “This is not normal.”

To maintain that an amendment drafted 250 years ago to protect a new nation from King George III as a constitutional right to bear assault weapons is not conservative. It is sick.

There is a disease eating away at the body politic that keeps it from acting in a mature and thoughtful manner to save lives.

How else do you explain our “leaders” standing by while young children are slaughtered in schools and innocent people are gunned down while praying or shopping? 

If you had a feeling of déjà vu in the aftermath of the carnage in Uvalde, Texas, you are justified in that feeling.  This is déjà vu to the hundredth power.

 The words are all too familiar: “Horrifying,” “Unfathomable,” “Unthinkable.” “Were there red flags?” “Will this move the political needle?”  “Why is this happening so often?”  “Will we pass background check legislation this time?”

It goes on and on and, unfortunately, it is all too repetitious and in a few days the media and all of us will move on.

We will forget that this happened in a state that implemented legislation only eight months ago that permits anyone over 21 to carry a gun in public without needing a permit or training.  

In proudly signing the bill, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said, “We need to erect a complete barrier against any government official anywhere from treading on gun rights in Texas.”

We will forget that in the first five months of 2022, there have been more than 200 mass shootings (defined as four people killed). Only a handful have made the headlines; the others were not sufficiently gruesome to be considered newsworthy.

We will forget that no other country in the world suffers from such gun violence.

We will forget that 45,000 people were killed by guns in 2020, the highest ever recorded.

We will forget that the U.S. Supreme Court, in 2008, declared for the first time that the Constitution guarantees the right of Americans to keep and bear arms. The court said gun ownership is an individual right, not connected with military service.  It doubled down on that ruling with a similar decision two years later.

We will forget these facts; we will forget the names of the victims; we will forget the towns and cities where the shootings took place.

We will forget that a population of 331 million Americans own 400 million guns. That is not a typo.

In reflecting on the Uvalde tragedy, we will not spout the banalities and bromides of those who refuse or are unable to hone in on what causes such grotesque and needless bloodshed.  We all know what needs to be done.  

We will not engage in cliches.  Instead, let’s take this moment to grieve.

Let us grieve Uvalde.

Let us grieve Buffalo.

Let us grieve Oxford.

Let us grieve Pittsburgh.

Let us grieve Parkland.

Let us grieve Sandy Hook.

Let us grieve Houston.

Let us grieve El Paso.

Let us grieve Sacramento.

Let us grieve Columbine.

Let us grieve for all the victims who died in the country in the name of the NRA and its constituents.

Finally, let us grieve ___________ (fill in the blank).

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Berl Falbaum is a veteran political journalist.