The speed at which America lurches from gun tragedy to gun tragedy is staggering.
Five weeks after concertgoers were targeted on the Las Vegas strip, a gunman opened fire in a Texas church, setting two more grim records; the worst shooting in a house of worship, and the worst shooting in the history of the state of Texas.
The 1999 school shooting at Columbine High School, which thrust mass murder by gun into the national consciousness, isn’t even among the 10 worst shootings anymore.
America is quickly becoming numb to the violence if it isn’t already.
Mass shootings involving four or more people now happen almost daily in the U.S. Even though they’re getting deadlier (five of the seven worst have been in the last decade), they’re now treated as a simple fact of life.
If you ever find yourself waiting for a train at Washington’s Union Station or New York’s Penn Station, you’ll see a video playing on continuous loop telling you what to do in the event that someone bursts into the building and opens fire on the crowd.
That video is produced by the Amtrak police. It’s as if they’re preparing people for the inevitable, admitting this worst-case scenario is no longer preventable even by law enforcement.
It’s absolutely baffling to anyone looking in on the U.S. from the outside.
There were more than 33,000 gun-related deaths in the U.S. in 2014 (including homicides and suicides).
If airplane crashes killed that many people most of us would refuse to fly.
If a certain brand of automobile had such a deadly track record, it would be pulled off the road.
If that many Americans died by almost any other means every year, people would do something about it.
But guns are always different.
Yes, the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution includes “the right to keep and bear arms,” but absent from the conversation is any discussion about whether that right extends to someone owning, say 47 guns, as the Las Vegas shooter did.
Often the debate in the U.S. is based on the assumption that every country deals with this exact same problem, or that countries that have strict gun control still face mass shootings on the scale of the U.S.
Neither of those things is even close to being true.
But the debate is now effectively over because there is no longer any debate at all.
After the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school, there was no legislative action by the United States Congress, and only five states passed stricter gun laws.
It was as though legislators had decided that the murder of school children was somehow more palatable than changing anything.
The church shooting in Texas was, in fact, the deadliest mass shooting of children since that awful day in Newtown, Conn., but again the conversation has focused on the fact that the gunman should not have been able to legally purchase his weapons because of his prior convictions, as though no criminal has ever been able to get their hands on a firearm in a country where there is almost one gun for every person.
There’s no mention of the fact that so many previous shootings have been carried out by people with legally acquired weapons – like Stephen Paddock in Las Vegas, who bought 33 of his 47 guns in just 12 months, without raising an eyebrow.
In fact, some will hold the Texas shooting up as an example of why America needs more people with guns because a Good Samaritan was able to shoot at the gunman.
WATCH: ‘Two good Samaritans pursued the suspect’
His heroic and selfless intervention was unable to prevent the deaths of 26 people, the injuries to dozens more, or the trauma that now engulfs an entire community. That’s not to diminish his actions, it’s just an awful fact.
In America today regular mass shootings are just considered the price of freedom by some.
Even some gun control advocates have simply thrown up their hands, recognizing there is no collective will to do anything.
The horrible loop of violence, tears, grief is endless, and all anyone is willing to offer are “thoughts and prayers,” even for people who were murdered while praying.