Today I am angry.
Yesterday I just felt numb, but this morning, I woke up angry.
In case you’ve somehow missed the news, there has been another school shooting– this one at an elementary school, and the worst death toll since Sandy Hook.
“Since Sandy Hook” is something we say in America. The names of schools become shorthand for the names of massacres. A columbine is a flower and also a massacre. Marjory Stoneman Douglass was a conservationist and also a massacre. Red Lake is a reservation and a massacre. Sandy Hook is a village in Connecticut, and a particularly bad massacre.
The massacres were invariably committed by boys or men with guns.
Eric Harris was a boy with a gun, a white supremacist with severe anger issues. He was medicated with high doses of an SSRI antidepressant which might have had the side effect of making him more impulsive, but he was violent in the first place anyway. Dylan Klebold was a Jewish boy with a gun, a depressive whose depression wasn’t treated with any medication; indeed, his depression wasn’t even diagnosed until after he shot himself and experts got ahold of his journal. Adam Lanza was a white boy with a gun who was diagnosed with autism, which is not a condition that causes violence. Seng Hui Cho was an Asian man with a gun and anxiety, and anxiety in itself doesn’t cause violence. Jeffrey Weise was an Indigenous American who had a gun and was bullied, but most kids who are bullied don’t respond by killing anyone. Dimitrios Pagourtzis had a gun and was bullied. Nikolas Cruz had a gun and behavioral issues. Ehan Crumbley had a gun and psychosis. The one factor they all had in common was a gun.
Salvador Ramos was also a man with a gun– two guns, in fact. He’d bought them on his eighteenth birthday. Sometime today we’ll probably find out his motive, though I don’t know why his motive matters. Yesterday, he took a gun to an elementary school and slaughtered nineteen children and two teachers before he himself was shot to death.
If those men and boys had pointed their fingers at students and teachers and said “bang,” the students and teachers would be alive. If they’d gone after the students with a knife or a baseball bat, the death toll might have been one or two before it was stopped. Because they had guns, they committed massacres.
American laws make it obscenely easy to get a gun.
American politicians, overwhelmingly those precious pro-life Christian Republicans, bend over backwards to make it easy to get a gun. The NRA spends tens of millions on their campaigns. They are bought and paid for. They celebrate every law making it easier to get guns. Texas’s governor Greg Abbot can feign shock now all he wants, but he’s guilty as sin.
Today the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a terse statement expressing a bit of sorrow and carefully not blaming anyone:
“There have been too many school shootings, too much killing of the innocent. Our Catholic faith calls us to pray for those who have died and to bind the wounds of others, and we join our prayers along with the community in Uvalde and Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller. As we do so, each of us also needs to search our souls for ways that we can do more to understand this epidemic of evil and violence and implore our elected officials to help us take action.”
The USCCB couldn’t be more upset if they’d gotten into a fender bender.
Nineteen children and two teachers have been slaughtered, many more are wounded, a whole community is traumatized, and this is all the statement they had.
This is a group of men who who have fussy rules for exactly how to treat an ectopic pregnancy so you don’t directly kill a 100% non-viable infant, and they will excommunicate a grieving mother if she opts to break those rules. They take a hard line on that. But they won’t utter a word against America’s obsession with guns, which kills forty thousand people a year. They are also lap dogs of the Gun Lobby.
As an outlier I would like to recognize Cardinal Cupich, who released an excellent statement including the tweet, “The Second Amendment did not come down from Sinai. The right to bear arms will never be more important than human life. Our children have rights too. And our elected officials have a moral duty to protect them.” But the USCCB working together is worthless.
I don’t know what can possibly change this horrific situation before another massacre takes place. We can’t look to our leaders for help.
And so I am angry.
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