I will anger many people by saying this: Though we need to figure out a better way to regulate who can carry a gun and why, guns are not the core problem in the epidemic of violence in America.
Clearly, we have a mental health crisis. It is most dramatically exhibited and mauled nationally by the media when a (usually) young white guy shoots up a school, a mall, a temple, a movie theater... the hits just keep on coming. But many many more young men have been shot and killed in black-on-black crime and we don’t lower the flags for them.
Maybe we should keep the damn flags lowered. Just keep them down everyday. Every. Day. Until we get a societal grip and commit to the mental health of our citizenry. Mental health disorders have to be rampant if the enormous majority of people who have them never commit a crime.
The gun thing also needs to be addressed.
Each time a troubled soul commits a horrific mass killing, the American conversation turns to talk about the epidemic of gun violence and pits the majority of people against the people who believe the Second Amendment should never be altered.
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
It specifies that this militia be well regulated. Who, I wonder, did the founding fathers intend would regulate it, the militia itself? This would be an organized body of citizen soldiers who, ideally, would defend the rest of us against a government that would use its own army to abridge our freedoms.
The people who would be that militia today scare me. From the back-and-forth on their web sites, I get a sense of creepy paranoia and hatred, fear and loathing — but not true fear of governmental offense, something else, something potentially as scary as these guys whose crimes — which I have listed below — have been coming fast and furious.
We’ve had eight this year.
The first mass killing I remember was at the University of Texas in 1966. Before Googling it, I couldn't remember another one until Timothy McVeigh’s destruction in Oklahoma City in 1995.
So I went searching for the list. I could not have summoned the memory of most of them:
July 18, 1984: A man shot 40 people at a McDonald’s in San Ysidro, Cal., , killing 21 and wounding 19 with several automatic weapons.
Jan. 17, 1989: A man shot and killed five and wounded 29 children in a schoolyard in Stockton, Cal.
April 20, 1999: Two teenagers shot up Columbine High School in Littleton, Col. killing 13 people and wounding 21. They killed themselves after the massacre.
July 29, 1999: A day trader murdered his wife and children then shot 12 and injured 13 at two day trading firms in Atlanta. He then killed himself.
Sept. 15, 1999: A man killed seven and wounded seven at a Christian rock concert and prayer rally in Fort Worth, Texas. He later committed suicide.
July 8, 2003: An employee of Lockheed Martin killed seven and injured seven others at the plant where he worked in Michigan. It was apparently racially-motivated, since most of the victims were black.
March 12, 2005: A man killed nine and wounded four at a church meeting in Brookfield, Wis. before killing himself.
March 21, 2005: A teenager killed his grandfather and grandfather’s girlfriend before killing nine and injuring nine at a high school on a Minnesota Indian reservation, then killed himself.
March 25, 2006: A 28-year-old man killed seven and injured two in Seattle.
Oct. 2, 2006: A man entyered an Amish schoolhouse in Lancaster, Pa., separated the girls from the boys and fatally shot five girls, injuring six others. He committed suicide afterward.
Feb. 12, 2007: An 18-year-old gunman shot six people to death and wounded four others in Salt Lake City’s Trolley Square Mall.
April 16, 2007. A student shot 56 people, killing 32 at Virginia Tech.
Dec. 5, 2007: A 19-year-old shot up a department store in Omaha, Neb, killing nine and wounding four before killing himself witha stolen, semi-automatic rifle.
February 7, 2008. Six people died and two were injured in a shooting spree at a public meeting at City Hall in Kirkwood, Mo. The gunman had been denied construction contracts. He was killed by police.
February 14, 2008: A 27-year-old man opened fire in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University, killing six and wounding 21. He shot and hilled himself.
March 29, 2009: A 45-year-old gunman shot eight at a nursing home in Carthage, N.C. His wife, an employee there, was a target.
April 3, 2009: A 41-year-old man killed 13 and wounded four at an immigration center in Binghamton, N.Y. before committing suicide.
Nov. 5, 2009: Forty-three people were shot by an Army psychiatrist at the Fort Hood army base in Texas, 13 fatally.
Aug. 3, 2010: A 34-year-old man killed nine and wounded two at a beer distributorship in in Manchester, Conn.
Jan. 8, 2011: A 22-year-old man shot 19 people, killing six outside a supermarket in Tucson, Ariz.
Sept. 6, 2011: A 32-year-old man shot 12 people, killing five in an International House of Pancakes in Carson City, Nev.
Oct. 14, 2011: Eight people were fatally shot and one was wounded by a 41-year-old man at a hair salon in Seal Beach, Cal.
April 2, 2012: A former student at Oikos University in Oakland, Cal. shot and killed seven people.
April 6, 2012: Two men shot five men, killing three, in a racially-motivated shooting spree in Tulsa, Okla.
May 29, 2012: A man killed five people at a cafe in Seattle before killing himself.
July 20, 2012: A 24-year-old man killed 12 and wounded 58 people in a movie theater in Aurora, Col.
Aug. 5, 2012: Six members of a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., were killed by an army veteran and four were wounded. The shooter then killed himself.
Sept. 27, 2012: A 36-year-old man shot and killed five people and wounded three at his former workplace in Minneapolis before killing himself.
Dec. 11, 2012: A 22-year-old killed two people and himself with a stolen rifle in Clackamas, Ore.
Dec. 14, 2012: A 20-year-old gunman shot and killed 27 at a school in Newtown, Conn., then killed himself.
Most assuredly, this list is not complete. And it will grow.