Last Saturday should’ve been a day of normalcy for those at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Instead, it would end up being called the deadliest gun violence attack on the Jewish community in United States history. Forty-six-year old Robert Bowers walked into the synagogue where innocent people had come to worship and started spraying not only bullets, but anti-Semitic vitriol to go along with the carnage.
Eleven people are now dead, and Bowers faces 29 charges, including hate crime charges that were filed earlier this week by federal prosecutors. If he is convicted of a hate crime charge, Bowers could face the death penalty.
“The actions of Robert Bowers represent the worst of humanity,” said Scott Brady, US Attorney.
In other words, just another day and just another batch of breaking news headlines in gun-totin’, freedom-lovin’, fellow-man-hatin’ America.
And it’s not going to stop.
Am I being overly-critical and far too glib on my take on gun violence in America? Perhaps, and I’ll leave it up to you to decide, but haven’t we all seen this dog and pony show before? Can’t we recite the lines by heart from the overused script that everyone will read on the talk show circuit? The one about how “we’ve got to stop gun violence, we’ve got to take this fight to Washington, we’ve got to raise our voices”?
Here’s what typically happens in the days following every mass shooting that takes place:
There are approximately nine million headlines pumped out to the masses through TV, the Web and social media platforms that dissect every last detail surrounding the shooting, as well as the shooter(s). And when I say ‘dissect’, I mean a fine-toothed comb absolutely digs down to the core, including the shooter’s background, childhood upbringing, what their neighbors thought of them, what their favorite color was, what they ate for breakfast that morning, and perhaps whether they preferred Wheel of Fortune to Jeopardy. Because all of this meaningless information spoon-fed to us is vitally important, people.
From there, it’s time for the talking heads to tell us what action we need to take. The news figures will make some very vague statements regarding gun control that don’t go beneath the surface, and what action the “good” Democrats want to see taken, while the “evil” Republicans will of course downplay any said action and will most likely be positioned as the bad guys.
If your favorite CNN anchor hasn’t told you what to do yet, don’t worry, because the late night talk show hosts will do the exact same thing. But tonight’s broadcast is a very special one because the host isn’t his normal joking self. No, tonight Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon are going to “get real” with you. Knowing Kimmel, he’ll probably end up crying about it while he talks to you about the need for gun control. Odds are that they’ll probably trot out photos of the victims of that particular tragedy, and they’ll be sure to promote some wonderful hashtag to try and get trending on social media.
Speaking of social media, it’ll be its turn to attempt to show that it can make a difference. What, didn’t you know that draping your Facebook profile picture in a “special flag or symbol” totally makes a difference and makes the bullets and bad guys disappear?
Then, after a span of maybe 9 or 10 days, these tried and true exercises in how North America reacts to a mass shooting will disappear in a flash.
Because gun violence in America is not going to stop. The sad, plain fact at the end of the day is that it’s a horrendous cycle that keeps turning and coming back around to end more lives and make us all a little bit sicker to our collective stomachs.
It is not going to stop until there’s a real discussion on mental health and illness in our Western society, instead of just throwing dollars at it and saying, “You know, we just need to do more.” I mean REALLY tackle the problem as to why someone feels the need to take an assault weapon and walk into a place such as a synagogue and end almost a dozen lives, or how we can help our veterans and trauma victims deal with the effects of PTSD. Oh, and I mean *actual* PTSD, not the version that today’s generation tries to pass as the real deal simply because Donald Trump is President or they don’t have a “safe space.”
It is not going to stop until gun control is truly explored beneath the surface. I’m talking the loopholes and regulations that still allow Joe Six-Pack to somehow get their hands on the kind of guns that should only be in the hands of our men and women who serve. Something is very wrong with the way guns are able to pass hands, and ultimately, they land in the hands of someone who has only the darkest of intentions.
Seems like a couple of tall orders to combat gun violence, huh?
To the people in charge, that seems to be true.
And because of this, it’s not going to stop.
For this week, that’s been the Ruttle Report.