On Sunday, four people were killed in a mass shooting in Kingfisher County, Oklahoma. Did you hear about that one? Maybe not.
Maybe you heard about the mass shooting on Saturday in Yazoo County, Mississippi, that left one dead and six injured over a dice game. Or the shooting that left four dead on Friday in Chester, Virginia. Or maybe you didn’t.
Perhaps you’ve heard about each of the 609 mass shootings around the country this year recorded as of Thursday by the Gun Violence Archive. Maybe you are aware of the circumstances surrounding each of the 39,708 deaths caused by gun violence this year. But it seems unlikely. We hear about only the biggest, the most tragic, the most egregious episodes of death.
Shooting after shooting. Deaths upon deaths. Injuries without end. Why is not every single member of Congress outraged? Why are judges not doing whatever they can to make us safer? Why is not every local official standing up for the lives of constituents?
How as a nation did we get to the point where only the most severe mass shootings get widespread attention? Perhaps it is because mass shootings are becoming so commonplace.
On Tuesday night, at least six people were were killed at a Walmart Supercenter in Chesapeake, Virginia, and four were sent to the hospital.
On Saturday, a gunman killed five people and injured 18 others at a Colorado Springs, Colorado, LGBTQ nightclub.
On Nov. 13, a shooter killed three University of Virginia football players and injured two others. The shooting was so tragic, there wasn’t much room to report that on the same day, a suspect fatally shot one person and injured seven others in Omaha. Or that four people were injured in a Philadelphia shooting.
Perhaps Americans have become numb. There hardly has been time to recover from the horrific mass shootings in Highland Park on July 4 and in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, in the spring.
Meanwhile, just last weekend in Chicago, gunfire killed three and wounded 17.
Are our officials leaping into action? Let’s take a look.
In Colorado Springs, officials did not use the state’s “red flag” law to remove the shooting suspect’s weapons, even though he was arrested last year after reportedly threatening violence with a bomb, “multiple weapons” and ammunition. Could that inaction have been influenced by a county commission’s declaration that the county is a Second Amendment sanctuary?
In Virginia, the site of three of the most recent mass shootings, Gov. Glenn Youngkin has said he would not sign any legislation setting limits on the Second Amendment and would consider rolling back existing gun laws.
In Texas, a judge ruled earlier this month that people under an order of protection have a right to guns.
In New York, a federal judge last month blocked much of the state’s new gun safety law.
In Oregon, a county sheriff and a gun-rights group filed a federal lawsuit to block a ballot measure approved by voters designed to limit gun violence.
Earlier this year, only two U.S. House Republicans voted for an assaults weapons ban.
As for U.S. Supreme Court, it has been happy to throw out years of settled law, making it easier for criminals and would-be mass shooters to get their hands on powerful weapons.
Perhaps none of those officials have noticed America suffered from 17 mass shootings across America in the two weeks from Nov. 11 to Nov. 23. That’s more than one a day.
Or perhaps the reports of the carnage are buried under the large political campaign donations flooding in from gun manufacturers, who want to sell as many guns as possible.
Yes, Congress in June passed legislation to, among other measures, enhance background checks for gun buyers under the age of 21, provide money for states to implement red flag laws and strengthen laws against straw purchasing and trafficking of guns. But it’s not enough.
Most Americans want stricter gun laws. The only way to get them is to demand every official at every level work to make the nation safer.
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