Enough is enough. Stop the insanity about guns.
Americans may someday look back in shame at a time when their country was awash in guns, when every few weeks people were slaughtered en masse and when society repeatedly mourned its dead, even as it facilitated their murder with easy access to powerful weapons.
The five deadliest shootings in modern U.S. history have all occurred in the past decade, two of them in the last five weeks alone. The latest American carnage came Sunday when 26 worshipers at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas — including a baby of 18 months — were cut down by a gunman with an assault-style rifle and an apparent grudge against his in-laws.
As shocking as the killings are, equally shocking is that the nation’s political leaders do nothing to stop them. Now, these leaders even want to deny that gun violence has anything to do with … guns.
Reacting to the massacre, President Trump asserted: “This isn’t a guns situation.” Both Trump and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott blamed mental illness for the latest tragedy. And yes, such spree killings often involve the nexus of guns and mental problems. But the overwhelming majority of people with mental illness are not violent. Nor is mental illness a predictor of gun violence.
Other countries battle mental illness, too. Other countries, however, do not have anywhere near the level of firearm homicides as the United States, let alone the number of massacres.
Sunday’s killer, Devin Kelley, 26, was court-martialed in 2012 for assaulting his wife and child. But, in another indication of weaknesses in the system used to screen prospective gun buyers, the Air Force didn’t relay information about the conviction to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
After each bloodbath, sensible people propose sensible measures: univer- sal background checks to replace a system with loopholes; bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Hopes for change are raised. Then the gun lobby pounces, cowardly members of Congress fold, and the violent cycle continues.
In one sense, Trump is right that “this is a mental health problem at the highest level.” For the nation's top leaders to watch innocent people mowed down, and refuse to do anything to stop it, is indeed absolutely crazy.