Now there are nearly 30 more families, this time around in San Bernardino, Calif., who will bury the dead or comfort the wounded from another mass shooting. It happened at a social services center for the disabled Wednesday, when two heavily armed shooters attacked in what police described as a “mission-style” assault.
Terrorism? A workplace dispute? Spurred by anger in a moment or organized over months? The picture will eventually be complete.
But there is a common denominator, and that is guns. Again, people who shouldn’t have had guns had them and used them to kill many people. Colorado. Newtown. A movie theater, a school, a church, a Planned Parenthood center. The blood flows in many places for many reasons. But always, there are guns, often high-powered assault weapons.
The mourning will go on in San Bernardino. The suspected shooters, a husband and wife, are dead. They had assault rifles and handguns and were wearing “assault-style clothing,” police said.
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On the same day the horrific scene unfolded in California, The New York Times reported statistics that should shock Americans, but unfortunately, given the gun-stoked carnage of recent years, probably won’t.
This year, The Times reported, there has been more than one episode a day on average that left four or more people injured or dead in the United States. Counting San Bernardino, a total of 462 people have died and more than 1,300 have been wounded in shootings, often in public places where bystanders become victims.
Despite polls showing most Americans support tougher gun laws, the National Rifle Association continues to financially support and rhetorically stand behind politicians who wave the “right to bear arms” as if it were the only part of the Constitution that mattered.
Now, even before the San Bernardino victims have been buried, the NRA will be gearing up with its tired and horribly wrong arguments against gun control. The organization knows that the killings this year alone will prompt gun control advocates to action. The NRA’s arguments will be familiar.
But the arguments grow weaker with every incident of gun violence. And the NRA, of course, doesn’t publicize what has kept gun control at bay for many years. It’s not an argument, it’s a threat: Politicians who dare advocate laws for gun control and safety will be crushed by a bottomless supply of NRA money their opponents.
How many more San Bernardinos will it take before Congress finds the courage to stand against the enablers of carnage?