How do we fix America and the madness of its people?

Published 8:22 am Wednesday, August 7, 2019

It happened again this weekend — two mass shootings in one 24-hour period. The mass shootings left nine dead in Dayton, Ohio, and 22 persons in El Paso, Texas.
President Trump in an address to the nation blamed mental illness, video games and the internet for the mass shootings. Sure, those are areas of concern that should be explored. But there’s no evidence that, when comparing the United States to the rest of the world, those factors explain the high rate of mass shootings in this country.
Trump was merely parroting National Rifle Association talking points that ignore that the rest of the world has mental illness, video games and internet access. Yet the United States stands out in its volume of mass killings and proliferation of weapons.
Regardless of where they happen and when they happen, these shootings are becoming all too familiar and are a reminder that they can happen in any city or any given day. A gunman chooses to commit violence against innocent people, against anyone in range. The gunman selects the time and place and then seeks to kill and injure as many as possible in moments.
The weekend before the Dayton and El Paso shootings, a gunman opened fire on the crowd at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California, killing three people and injuring 13.
What kind of evil compels someone to harm and kill innocent people? In the case of the Dayton, Ohio shooting, the suspect shot and killed his sister. No one can imagine the heartbreak of that family.
There will be many discussions about El Paso and Dayton. About the availability of firearms of all types, and the willingness of some people to use them. America needs to deal with its propensity for gun violence and the availability of weaponry. Our belief is that there are steps Congress can take to reduce the opportunities for armed villains to kill. They include universal background checks and limits on magazine capacity. The Second Amendment guarantee that individuals have the right to own guns complicates restriction efforts.
But there is something else in play in America that needs to be confronted beyond the availability of guns. It is the rage that compels some people to cause mass, indiscriminate harm. Whatever our problems as a society, some of them stem from, or create, a grievous and callous rage in some. An angry person with access to weapons represents a particular type of danger in the United States. In El Paso and Pittsburgh. In a Texas church, another in South Carolina, and just a few years ago in a small town in Tennessee. In a Florida school and a Florida nightclub. And at a Nevada concert, and a pancake house outside of Nashville, where four were killed and four injured. No place is immune.
In the El Paso shooting, a child was killed, young parents, grandparents, People of all ages are being killed. Innocent people.
There will always be guns in America, legal and otherwise. It is part of the culture of this country. But what, if anything, can be done to deal with the anger? It’s a troubling question in part because it’s so immense. Yet it’s undeniable.
Something is badly wrong in America, and it’s causing great harm. In El Paso, in Dayton, in Charleston, S.C., in Parkland, Fla., in Antioch, Tn., and the list goes on. Where will it happen next?
The discussion about mass shootings and the madness that causes them must start in our homes, in our churches and school. Congress needs to start talking about it. It’s time for our elected representatives to quit thinking get re-elected and start doing something to fix America and the anger in this country.

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