skip to Main Content

The Gun Battle, Part Two: Have We Seen This Movie Before?

We can protect the Second Amendment, we can protect our constitutional rights, and we can still do something about this public health crisis that is gun violence in our communities.
– Seth Moulton

After two mass shootings (commonly defined as “acts of violence, excluding gang shootings, domestic violence, or terrorist acts sponsored by organizations, in which a shooter kills at least four victims”) within 13 hours, will anything change? With Dayton and El Paso grieving their combined 32 dead, will politicians piously pledge to “remember them in our thoughts and prayers”? Or DO something to confront gun violence plaguing America?

Don’t hold your breath. After 20 children and six adults were slaughtered in a Connecticut elementary school in 2012, America was outraged. Nothing changed.

Recently, grim news raised awareness that we have endured over 250 mass shootings this year, OVER ONE PER DAY. Will that translate into action?

President Trump dutifully condemned the shootings, blaming racist hatred (which many blame him for stoking), mental health issues, even violent video games. While hatred inspires many senseless killings, especially those racially motivated, experts say video games and mental health are less clear causative factors.

True, we should discourage young people from playing games where they commit bloody mass murder, building tolerance for carnage. But with free-speech issues argued by gaming industry lobbyists, solving that one is difficult.

Sadly, that’s what passes for governing these days: whose lobbyists can spend the most money buying votes from pandering politicians – even writing legislation and regulations for them.

Regarding mental health, Republicans’ favorite scapegoat, studies show mentally-ill people are more likely to be hurt or killed in shootings than to perpetrate them. An overwhelming majority never commit violent crimes.

We don’t have a stellar record of treating the seriously mentally ill in America: three times more are in jails and prisons than hospitals (ten times more in Arizona and Nevada).

With too few people receiving needed mental-health treatment already, providing care (psychiatrists, nurses, facilities, beds) to all who need it would be prohibitively expensive. With deficits currently measured in TRILLIONS of dollars, we can’t afford it.

Republicans oppose government spending – except when they don’t. They oppose spending on things they don’t like, typically social programs (including mental health). They love spending on tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, defense spending ABOVE the military’s requests, and a wall at the Mexican border (that Mexico was supposed to pay for).

Will we, then, spend substantially on mental health? Sadly, while Republicans control the Senate and the White House, no. It’s convenient to blame it for mass shootings, because nothing will actually be done, for the sake of (so-called) fiscal responsibility.

How likely are meaningful gun-control measures to be passed by Congress, in the wake of recent shootings? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell typically stalls such measures, including those passed in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. McConnell denies them a hearing, much less a vote.

After Dayton, El Paso and Trump’s speech, McConnell said bolstering background checks will be one of “two items that for sure will be front and center” in the Senate this fall.

Yet again, don’t hold your breath.

Community Guidelines

The Modern Moderate welcomes readers’ ideas and discussions of issues. We do insist, in Moderate fashion, that comments should be as respectful and informed as possible, to keep our site constructive for our readers. Therefore, posts deemed hostile, obscene, untrue, or misleading will be deleted, and authors of those comments may be blocked from posting comments in the future. Thank you for your cooperation.

Share Your Thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top