As published in Commercial Appeal:
Last year was the deadliest year of mass shootings in America. We accepted and endured 11 mass shootings — three or more fatalities — in 12 months. We’ve already had two this year, including Ash Wednesday when 17 people were gunned down at a high school in Parkland, Fla.
Where will the next mass shooting take place? Your school? Your church? Your movie theater? Your work place?
It will happen again. And again. And again. Who can stop it?
Our presidents, regardless of party, are powerless, beholden to 27 words written on a piece of parchment nearly 250 years ago when a crack soldier could fire four rounds per minute with a musket that didn’t shoot straight.
Our members of Congress are spineless, beholden to moneyed interests who scare them away from any efforts to reduce random gun violence, even after 20 elementary school students were gunned down five years and 35 mass shootings ago.
Our state legislators are mindless, continuing to pass laws that make it easier to buy, sell, carry and use personal weapons of mass destruction so we can arm ourselves against people who buy, sell, carry and use personal weapons of mass destruction.
Our mighty military and police forces are useless against an angry, calculating or crazed lone gunman armed with a Constitutionally-approved, legally-purchased, easily-obtained AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle with high-capacity magazines that can fire dozens of rounds per minute.
“Kids are not bringing hand grenades to school, or sticks of dynamite, or even fertilizer bombs because we have decided as a society to carefully restrict and control those dangerous items,” said Rev. Dr. Rob Schenck, an ordained evangelical minister and author of “God and Guns”.
“Can we agree that more weapons, more ammunition, easier and greater access to firearms, and good guys with guns have not solved this deadly problem? And we won’t solve it until good people accept reality, resolve to do all we can to change what’s really wrong, keep guns away from anyone who isn’t properly trained and monitored in their use, and begin ridding our homes, neighborhoods, schools, and communities of instruments of mass death.”
This isn’t a gun problem. It’s an American gun problem, according to Adam Lankford, a University of Alabama criminology professor who studied mass shootings in 171 countries from the years 1966-2012.