This is not going to be a light and happy column. I apologize in advance because this is going to be somewhat of a rant. I am frustrated, and I am angry.
In 24 hours, there were two mass shootings in this country. Two! As I type this there are more than two dozen dead and I don’t know how many wounded in the attacks. One shooter is dead, the other in custody.
These aren’t the first mass shootings this year. I’m scared they won’t be the last this year.
And our leaders? That’s almost as horrible as the shootings themselves. Instead of, I don’t know, maybe coming together and doing something about this, they are busy pointing fingers at each other, blaming each other for what’s happening and not even trying to come up with a viable solution.
If you are a liberal, you probably find it easy to point at the Republicans and the president and blame them for the problem. You may think everyone who disagrees with your pet solution to the problem is in the pocket of the NRA. You possibly assume you have the moral high ground on this issue.
But the Dayton shooter was apparently a far-left supporter. And your side’s hands aren’t clean. It wasn’t Republicans who said that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should have broken his neck instead of his shoulder recently. Who tried to intimidate supporters of the president. Who wouldn’t even consider the possibility that a good person might possibly have voted for Trump.
Now that I’ve incensed the left, let me turn and address the right. Many of you, in your protection of the Second Amendment, refuse to consider common sense. Some of you are content with the status quo, which clearly isn’t working. And I’ve heard some of you resist any attempts to rein in the problem, because you’re afraid it will lead to someone knocking on your door to take your guns.
Do I, a simple columnist, have all the answers? No. But I have a few ideas that I think we could get both sides to look at — if we can get both sides to even talk to each other.
First, it’s past time for universal background checks. And such checks should include someone’s school records. If, as I’ve heard, one of the shooters had a rape list and kill list while in high school, that should have been part of his record. And perhaps he wouldn’t have been able to buy a gun.
Second, we desperately need a way to find these troubled people before they pull a trigger. Someone needs to come up with a psych screening test that could be administered during a mandatory gun safety course. If someone refuses to be tested, no gun.
“But Laura,” I can hear the whines. “The Second Amendment…”
I believe in the Constitution, which includes the Second Amendment. I also believe that the Constitution isn’t a suicide pact. Not everyone could own a gun when the thing was written. Not everyone should be able to own one now. It’s just a question of weeding them out.
But the biggest problem? Our leaders won’t work together. They find it too politically beneficial to demonize each other and see cooperation as weakness.
My message to them: Get over it. We the American people are tired of your bickering, tired of your grandstanding, and just fed up with you in general. At least I am.
Get your act together. Do something to address this growing problem. Preferably before another idiot takes a gun and uses his fellow citizens for target practice.
Voters like me are watching you. The ball is in your court. Get it done. Or, be prepared after the next mass shooting to explain why you didn’t.