As we continue with perhaps one of the most bizarre election cycles in recent history, ongoing gun violence incidents are just about vanishing from media accounts? Wall-to-wall election coverage filled with insults, negativity, and one-upmanship fill the airwaves, leaving little or no room for coverage of anything else. One of those missing stories is the almost daily shootings that are taking place across our country.
The Washington Post editorial board effectively addresses this issue.
The editorial notes that on the weekend of Feb. 20, there were deadly gun incidents in Michigan, Mississippi, Indiana, and Texas just for starters. They also cite Gun Violence Archive reports that since the beginning of the year there have been 6,886 gun violence occurrences. A total of 1,781 individuals have been killed while 3,475 have been injured. Of those who were killed 74 were under the age of 12.
Add to these statistics the news that a young Virginia police officer was killed on her first day on patrol stemming from a domestic dispute.
Unfortunately these tragedies have become business as usual. The election has moved these incidents from our front pages and from any significant cable news coverage. Worse yet, one of the reasons there is minimal coverage is the consensus that nothing will be done about these events. The strength of the gun lobby seems to argue for such a stance. Many gun rights advocates are in fact saying that nothing can be done and that anything that could be attempted would violate the second amendment.
The notion that nothing can be done and nothing should be attempted is difficult to swallow. In the greatest country on Earth that has sent people to the moon and made the world safe for democracy in World War II, are we rendered helpless to try to save the lives of our young people and our citizenry? I thought that mission was crystal clear in the very preamble to our Constitution.
Often the question is asked, "What will it take to energize the electorate to demand change?" The answer to that question seems to be that nothing is strong enough to counter the weight of the gun lobby. The horrible events we have all witnessed over the last few years haven't made change possible, so one is left to wonder whether there is anything that could be a precipitating event.
The Washington Post insists that the availability of guns is what separates us from other countries around the world. Issues of mental illness and violent video games are factors in other countries as well as they are here in the United States. Whether Uber performs adequate background checks on its drivers is an issue not just in the Kalamazoo, Mich., shooting, but in other countries as well.
Yet, the idea that we can stand by and allow our children and our neighbors to be killed because of the easy availability of guns cannot be sustained. More and more parents and citizens in affected communities around the country will begin to demand sensible gun laws. Some states have already begun this process. This effort will expand and eventually force action from the Congress of the United States. How many of our citizens will have to die before we reach that point?