Today—June 10, 2014—Troutdale, Oregon witnessed the carnage, where two people (including the gunman) were shot to death and another person was wounded inside a high school. Just five days ago—on June 5—Seattle, Washington hosted the bloodbath, where three people were hospitalized and one was killed in a shooting at Seattle Pacific University. And a mere 13 days earlier—on May 23—all eyes were on Isla Vista, California, with seven dead and 13 wounded after a gun-involved rampage in and around the University of California at Santa Barbara.
We’ve not yet reached the halfway point in 2014, and already in the United States, according to numbers compiled in Wikipedia (see here), school shootings have killed 19 people and wounded 41 more—a pace that augurs to put us far ahead of 2013 (when school shootings for the year resulted in 26 dead and 36 wounded), and perhaps even ahead of 2012 (the year of Sandy Hook), when school shootings killed 43 and wounded 18.
These numbers–chilling as they are–reflect only school-related incidents. I’ll leave for others the tallying of recent gun violence as a whole–a tally that can start by working backward from just this past weekend, which saw five people killed (including two policemen) in Las Vegas.
Speaking in December 2012, as he announced a gun control task force in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, President Obama said this: “If we’re going to change things, it’s going to take a wave of Americans–mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, pastors, law enforcement, mental health professionals–and, yes, gun owners–standing up and saying ‘enough’ on behalf of our kids.”
I agreed with President Obama back then (see here). In fact, polls indicate that most of us agreed with him back then, and most of us agree with him still. But did enough of us agree? More specifically, did enough of our lawmakers agree? Did enough of our elected representatives agree that the permissiveness of our gun laws had become obscene, and that too many Americans were being killed and maimed in a scream of bullets plated with a perverse veneer of Constitutional legitimacy?
The ever-growing numbers provide the answer. How many lawmakers have had the strength, the principle, and the moral fortitude to say “enough” to gun violence by supporting and voting for stronger, sensible gun laws?
Clearly–and very sadly: Not enough.