By Bob Gaydos
How messed up is America?
This messed up: Having written far too many editorials and columns in my lifetime on violence and the need for sensible gun control and more resources for mental health programs, I stopped after writing a couple of paragraphs on the murder by a teenager of 10 black Americans who simply happened to be in a supermarket in Buffalo one afternoon.
I was too depressed. It's the same, old story. Do some yard work. Give it a couple days.
He who hesitates. A couple of days later I was watching the escalating body count as yet another teenager slaughtered virtually an entire fourth-grade class in Uvalde, Texas.
Nineteen children. Two teachers. The slaughter in Texas knocked the massacre in Buffalo off the front pages before we had time to properly grieve that senseless loss of life.
That's how messed up America is.
After reading the early reports of the escalating body count in that fourth-grade classroom in Uvalde, I turned off my phone and shut my eyes.
I cried. If you're a parent, you'll get it. Hell, if you're just a normal, caring adult who appreciates the joy and promise of children, you'll get it. I pictured myself as one of the parents standing outside the school, screaming and crying as police stood frozen, also outside, while a deranged teenager with a military-style killing machine blew their children apart inside. And I wept. And I cursed.
And I said, what the hell, I've written this editorial dozens of times already. We know the solutions.
Apparently, we don't. Not all of them. We know that universal background checks for purchase of a firearm makes sense. Most Americans support this. We know that banning the sale of military-style assault rifles will reduce the civilian death toll. It's already been proven. We know from sad experience that more mental health resources, especially for young people and schools, are vitally needed in our social media era.
We also know that the National Rifle Association and gun manufacturers have the Republican Party in their pockets. Bought and paid for. They will fight gun control measures to the last student's dying breath.
And that's the last, obvious, part of the solution to mass shootings in America: Voting for state and national representatives who will support the necessary changes. The one we keep ignoring.
It has been said that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity. Well then, screaming about the need for changes in gun laws and repeatedly voting for people obviously opposed to them -- paid to oppose them -- is a form of insanity.
Worse yet is screaming for the need for change and not bothering to register or even bothering to vote for people who would fight for those changes. Deadly apathy.
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