|Oh, suck it up, you crybabies - nobody gives a shit about your murdered mom, dad,|
brother, sister, or whoever it was. Get over it, already - the rest of us certainly have!
I just figured I should remind everyone out there that, three weeks ago today, 12 people were murdered in my neighborhood over at the Navy Yard.
You've probably forgotten, but a crazy dude who worked as a government security contractor used his security credentials to get into the building and started shooting people. A lot of people. Just a few blocks from my house.
I was in Toronto at the time, so I didn't live through all of the (astoundingly short-lived) insanity that followed. I have been rather shocked, however, at how quickly everyone seems to have forgotten about such a high-profile mass shooting in the nation's capital, less than 2 miles from the Capitol Building.
Have we really become so desensitized to the spectacle of mass shootings that we just don't care anymore? That we expect them to happen?
Perhaps we are - after all, depending on how one counts, the US might experience as many as one mass shooting PER DAY. Obviously, not all of those can make the national news - otherwise, there would be almost no time for anything but mass shootings on the news, and the news simply must make adequate room for celebrity gossip, mindlessly talking heads, and pointless back-and-forth between partisan hacks.
Furthermore, the US is alone in the number of mass shootings it experiences. 15 of the 25 worst mass shootings in the past 50 years have happened in the United States (although that list was before Navy Yard, so we're almost certainly up to at least 16 of 25); Finland is in second place with 2.
This blog has also been guilty of growing weary of mass shootings - I didn't even bother to write about the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre in Newtown, CT, in which 20 children were killed. I was tired about writing about mass killings myself - after all, I blogged about the Tuscon shooting (twice), about the Batman movie massacre, and about the Sikh temple massacre - and I just didn't have it in me to write yet another "I told you so" post about mass shootings in 2012.
If 20 dead kids aren't enough to make the US get serious about decreasing the number of gun deaths, 12 murdered adult federal employees certainly won't move the needle of public or Congressional opinion.
There have been plenty of mass shootings in 2013 to write about, but I haven't written about any of those either. However, since this mass shooting happened just a few blocks away, I figured I'd break out my old explanation of why we will continue to see more and more mass shootings - it's inevitable, and it's just a matter of time.
Mass shootings like this are inevitable in the United States due to the combination of two simple facts:
- the mental health system in this country sucks. The Navy Yard shooter was obviously seriously disturbed, but for some reason, he didn't get the help he needed - in fact, he even secured employment with a federal security contractor.
- as a country, we have decided that citizens should have access to practically unlimited quantities of assault weapons and ammunition. We don't even regulate guns as seriously as we regulate toys.
The shooting in the Navy Yard, was a definitely a senseless tragedy, but I'm not shocked now, and I'm not going to be shocked when this happens again somewhere else in the U.S. None of these mass shooters are special or unique - I'm sure there are many (hundreds? thousands?) of people alarmingly similar to them out there. As mentioned above, mass shootings are becoming horrifically banal - the U.S. has averaged at least one high-profile mass shooting each year since 2005, while the US might experience as many as one mass shooting PER DAY - it's just that only one per year usually becomes a media sensation.
You heard it here first, folks - more mass shootings are coming. They're a statistical inevitability, unless the U.S. decides that it wants to do something about preventing its citizens from owning semiautomatic assault weapons and about providing effective mental health care to all its citizens. So, to all you future mass murders out there - you're not going to shock and surprise me, as sad as that sounds.
Oh, and we the public don't care about the mass shootings or mass shooting victims either - unless it happens to us or someone we know, of course. So suck it up and shut up, you friends and family of people killed in mass shootings, and you'd sure as hell not suggest that we need to change our approach to either mental health or gun control. That's just playing politics with a tragedy, don't you know? Just ask the Republicans - they'll explain it all to you.
Sigh ... I just hope that neither I nor anyone I know have the rotten luck to be caught in any of your upcoming massacres. What rotten luck that would be.