Skip to Navigation Skip to Main Content

Can-do spirit demands gun-violence answer

Profile image for Denton Record-Chronicle Editorial
Denton Record-Chronicle Editorial

Here we are again. Same place we were after Las Vegas, Sandy Hook and Orlando.

This time it happened in Texas. Guy walks into a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, a tiny community outside of San Antonio, and starts shooting with a semi-automatic AR-15 assault-style rifle.

When the smoke clears, 26 men, women and children worshipping at Sunday morning services lie dead in their pews. Another 20 are wounded. The gunman flees and either kills himself or is shot to death by a Good Samaritan. We're not yet sure which one.

The National Rifle Association and Republican-elected officials characterize the shooter as mentally ill and assert the massacre has nothing to do with firearms and how they are regulated in the United States.

The gun-control crowd and their Democratic Party confederates assert once again that new regulations -- things like banning high-capacity magazines and closing the gun-show loophole that allows gun purchases with no background check -- are long overdue.

Here's the question: Is it reasonable to ask what government and the firearms industry can do to make such shootings less likely? Or should we say our prayers for the victims of the latest gun-related tragedy and accept such incidents as "the new normal" for the 21st century?

The idea that nothing can be done flies in the face of the American can-do spirit that grabs onto a problem and solves it. It just seems wrong to mourn for a couple of days, bury the dead and then wait anxiously for the next headline about a horrific mass shooting.

But we have to be honest with ourselves and with each other. A large number of Americans believe mass shootings are simply the price of freedom and that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prevents any further regulation of firearms.

Second Amendment absolutists will even defend bump stocks, the customized attachment that allowed the Las Vegas shooter to convert his semi-automatic rifles to fire like machine guns.

The absolutists refuse to see mass shootings as a gun problem. Their solution is more security measures and more guns in the hands of "good guys" at churches, schools, shopping malls, hotels, sporting events and other so-called soft targets.

The whole thing is maddening. Are we headed toward a society in which mass murders become so commonplace that they will merit only a brief mention inside the newspaper's A section? Are we now inured to gun violence on an industrial scale?

The dictionary definition of "inured" is to be "accustomed to pain or trouble." Is that what we have become? If so, it's un-American.