From 2012, when the Sandy Hook elementary massacre occurred, until the 20th anniversary of the Columbine massacre last April, nearly 2,300 people have been killed and almost 8,400 have been wounded in mass shootings, according to one accounting. The number killed by gun-related violence in general is even higher. One of the most well-known mass-shootings outside the U.S. occurred in Norway in 2011. Since then, Norway has had zero, while we’ve lost count.
Stigmatizing law-abiding citizens by focusing on untreated mental illness does not help. The U.S. is on par with similarly wealthy countries in terms of dollars spent and providers per capita for mental health treatment. And by all means, let us get mental health care more accessible to everyone who requires it. But it is more difficult to refill a prescription for a legal mental health medication than it is to purchase a gun.
The rifle my husband takes deer hunting is not the weapon that took 58 lives in Nevada, 49 lives in Orlando, or at least 30 this past week.
When planes fall out of the sky, we ground them and fix the problem. When food becomes contaminated, we stop delivering tainted lettuce. Why is this any different?
Look at the history of mass shootings in the U.S. and a few key things emerge — an ideology of hatred typically motivates the murders, whether a history of violence toward women or racial hostility; the astonishing ease with which high-powered weapons and large magazines can be obtained; and the utter failure of anyone in power to do anything to help.
The book of James says faith without works is dead. I will continue to think about that verse as we offer our thoughts and prayers yet again.