We are not hopeless in this.
As we absorb the news of another school shooting, as more students learn what it means to feel terror in a supposed place of safety, as more parents hear the most devastating news possible, we cannot forget that we can do something.
It doesn’t always feel like that, as we go back through the familiar cycle that ends with the tragedy fading from popular memory, then starts anew with the next breaking news alert.
But that can’t be the end of it. We can’t let that cycle be hijacked by politicians and lobbyists with no interest in an uncorrupted discussion on gun violence, or in reflecting on this uniquely American phenomenon.
They offer thoughts and prayers, then empty criticisms of the country’s mental health care system, which has been systematically weakened by many of these same politicians. They avoid any mention of the problem.
Addressing that problem is not easy, but it is also not impossible or impractical. There are effective gun laws that would likely cut down on the number of shootings without infringing unduly on anyone’s rights, and they don’t include giving teachers guns, or placing armed guards at every school, mall, nightclub, movie theater and church. A better background check system and further restrictions on domestic abuse perpetrators and other violent offenders are two good ideas. Cutting access to the kind of deadly rifles present at almost all of these shootings is another.