I’ll keep this short.
There were 17 people gunned down this week in the latest mass shooting at a U.S. high school. Among them were 14 high school students – many too young to vote and all of them teenagers.
These kids – and three more adults – were murdered by yet another mentally unbalanced young man with yet another AR-15 semi-automatic style weapon.
This was the same gun used to murder 27 more people – most of them between the ages of 6 and 7 – at an elementary school six years ago by yet another mentally unbalanced young man.
The most recent shooting took place in a quiet community in Florida and the one in 2012 occurred in a quiet Connecticut community. The shooter of the very little kids was only 20 and our latest gunman was 19. Both had long histories of mental illness and there were countless times where neighbors and friends expressed concern about them to local law enforcement agencies.
As for their AR-15s, it is THE gun of choice for young assassins in mass shootings these days because it’s a military style weapon that can a) fire in excess of 45 -100 rounds per minute without reloading and b) inflict lethal damage to all its targets far more effectively due to the high velocity in which its bullets travel.
That is to say, a bullet shot from a handgun imbeds into your victim’s liver um, maybe 1-2 inches. While an AR-15 will “pulverize it”, say experts, who use the metaphor of what happens when you drop a watermelon from a distance high above onto a concrete surface far below – much like David Letterman used to do in one of his comedy bits on The Late Show.
If you have a gun enthusiast friend, neighbor, or family member, you might ask them why anyone not in the military needs a military style weapon and why in many states anyone over 18 can walk into a store and buy one in a matter of minutes.
If they answer with phrases like guns don’t kill people, people kill people, or with statistics on how many more of those guns are available illegally, or admonish you as un-American because you don’t understand the 2nd Amendment (the right to bear arms) – tell them you’ll get to that in a minute. Right now you just want them to be kind enough to answer the first question you posed.
I, myself, have tried this with numerous people in the last few days but have thus far been unable to get a straight answer that doesn’t stray into one of those three tributaries. Perhaps it’s my tone. Okay, more than likely. But also, just perhaps, there is no adequate answer to that question other than – why not?
Well, there are a whole lot of why nots but, sadly, every one of them is dead. Of course, if we knew who the future why nots were going to be that might be a tad more convincing. Though I’m not 100% sure.
The closest we have in the meantime are the voices of a whole lot of surviving almost why nots. These would be the voices of the many teenagers from that Florida high school who managed to survive the latest installment from the all-too familiar American loop of The Hunger Games.
Here is a story and videos of their intellectually eloquent and painfully raw, heartfelt responses to our decades long American gridlock surrounding the school shootings/gun issue.
These kids aren’t having it and – shout out to their local educational system, or their parents, or what happens when any older generation callously and continuously puts their younger generation in harm’s way – whether via war overseas or terror at home – they are not backing down.
In an odd way, it reminds me of what the older brothers and sisters of my generation did when a bunch of goons thought it might be a good idea to ship them overseas to fight in Vietnam because it was just too difficult for the elders in power to admit they had made a mistake and were killing their young people for no real discernible reason other than…well, I never understood that either.
What I do remember is that in that case it didn’t end well but thanks in large part to the voices of the young being sent to their deaths, it did eventually end.
I fully expect that to be the case here. It’s just a shame to have to wait that long. Or even one more second.