I read about this sad story as it was in the process of being breaking news prior to my starting work this morning. My initial gut reaction, as has become numbly routine with these horrible events, is to simply observe that - here we go again, just another day in America's shooting gallery.
The initial story which I read appeared on Yahoo! News, and so, probably against my better judgement, I glanced down at the end of the article and took a quick peek at the first wave of reader comments. And I became sickened. In particular by this comment from one reader (which seemed to be lustily echoed by several others):
"I'm fairly conservative and don't like America-bashing but I have to say the guy's (a witness) comment that it happens in third world countries and not here is just weird... happens here a lot... what the people who want to take guns away don't seem to get is that if some of the victims had been able to carry, they could have put the shooter out before he got more people... crazies and criminals will always get their hands on guns, legal or not... the rest of us have to be able to defend ourselves and others"
All I could think of after reading that, other than irony certainly is not that person's forte, was, my god, is this our society's future? Mom and dad or grandpa and grandma want to take their kids or grandkids out for a nice breakfast at IHOP, perhaps celebrating a birthday or a child's school achievements or just to spend some quality time with loved ones, but they had better be either packing Glocks themselves or be desperately hopeful that others around them are heavily armed and ready at a moment's notice to engage in a life and death gun battle? Fucking really?? This is the kind of America these people want to live in? Fucking really???
Our society is mind-numbingly sick. It is sick to it's very core. Our national soul is grievously ill when that Yahoo! commenter's viewpoint is the predominant viewpoint after a story like this emerges.
Admittedly, I really don't know what the most equitable answer to this crisis is. I have an idea or two of where to start, but I honestly believe that many of the same people who agree with that Yahoo! commenter would probably just as soon put a bullet in the back of my head than actually have a sane and reasonable conversation about such subject matter much less agree to any level of compromise about it.
What I am fairly certain of though is that America, if it doesn't address this diseased culture where armed violence is an acceptable method of dealing with conflict, then eventually this beautiful experiment of democracy that has benefited many the world over since it's inception, is certain to die from the destructive side effects of that illness - and that does not bode well for humanity as a whole.
**UPDATE**: More info is trickling out. One witness, an armed business owner who was on the scene, said that he saw the guy emerge from his vehicle and immediately start randomly shooting a heavy caliber automatic weapon and stated, “I had my pistol, but I wasn’t going to go up against an automatic rifle....but when he came at me, when somebody is pointing an automatic weapon at you — you can't believe the firepower, the kind of rounds coming out of that weapon." To which I'm sure the brain-dead Yahoos on Yahoo! will simply reply -- "then maybe more people should carry assault rifles around with them in public" . . . which of course would simply confirm my diagnosis of the societal sickness with which we have all been afflicted.
**UPDATE #2**: When I refer to "America's shooting gallery" as I did at the beginning of this post, that reference carries absolutely no charm or wit with it. Yesterday's carnage in Nevada was so par for the course for this country that it actually overshadowed (news wise) two other multiple death shootings that occurred on the same day yesterday:
Five dead here.
Three more (including 2 children) dead here.
The question stands - when will it end?