We’ve heard the words and felt the frustration.
This time it was the police chief in Lafayette, Louisiana, speaking in the aftermath of another anguishing spasm of gun violence.
“Why this city, why this movie, why those people?” Jim Craft wondered.
The answer is because in this country, it could be anywhere, anytime, anyone. We’ve seen it so often we know the roll call, and the horrors each name evokes.
It’s Aurora, Colorado; Charleston, South Carolina; Newtown, Connecticut; Fort Hood, Texas; Columbine, Colorado; Santa Barbara, California; Tucson, Arizona; Blacksburg, West Virginia; Chattanooga, Tennessee. And now, Lafayette.
It’s a movie theater, a church, an elementary school, a military base, a high school, a sorority house, a supermarket, a college campus, a military recruiting center. And now, another theater.
It’s young men who hated. It’s men with mental illness. It’s men with guns.
Mass killings dominate news cycles. Other shootings, often with illegal guns sold in NYC and around the country, fill the stat sheet.
An emotional Barack Obama, just hours before a deranged drifter opened fire in the Lafayette cinema, said gun safety is the area in which he’s been most frustrated in six years as president. The number of Americans killed by terrorism since 9/11, he said, is less than 100. The number lost to gun violence in that time is in the tens of thousands.
How can we not get serious about treating our national problem? Why won’t we act to keep “instruments of death” — the term used by the father of an Aurora victim in the wake of the slaughter in Lafayette — out of the hands of those incapable of using them responsibly? Why is someone always lamenting not having intervened to get help for someone so clearly in need of it? When will we finally confront our culture of violence?
We’ve had enough wake-up calls. How many must die before we listen?