I was in Israel in November when two bombs went off at bus stops in Jerusalem, several miles from where I was renting an apartment for the month. Two people died and about 20 were injured. I happened to be in Haifa, about two hours away, when it happened. When I returned later that day, I got a call from a friend back home asking if I was OK.
I said yes, and what about you, I asked, referring to a shooting that had just occurred in Chesapeake, Va., in which a Walmart employee opened fire in the store, killing six.
He paused and said, “well, you’ve got a point.”
America needs to look in the mirror to see just how sick it is, how accepting it is of domestic terrorism by lone wolves, how in love it is with guns, how indifferent it has become to mass shootings, day after day after day.
Monday night, 43-year-old gunman Anthony McRae, opened fire at my alma mater -- Michigan State Universityin East Lansing, killing three and wounding five. He killed himself as police closed in at an off-campus location. Just another mass shooting in America. McRae, according to The Detroit News, was charged in June 2019 with carrying a concealed pistol without a permit. He had purchased the gun at a pawn shop, Capital Discount in Lansing. Prosecutors eventually let him plead down to a misdemeanor.
Nothing will likely happen after this latest shooting, other than the usual stuff we do, the piles of teddy bears and the hashtag memes and maybe a moment of silence at a sporting event. I gave up after seeing nothing happen when Adam Lanza killed his mother, and 28 others – most of them 6- and 7-year-olds – at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., more than a decade ago. If dead first-graders don’t move the needle, what will?
What’s happened since then? A hell of lot more mass shootings.
People say gun restrictions don’t work, pointing to cities like New York and Washington. Of course they don’t, not when it’s done in piecemeal fashion. Anyone who lives in D.C. can take a 15-minute drive to Maryland or Virginia to a shop where it’s pretty darn easy to get a gun. Oh, you say you have a felony conviction? No problem. Get your cousin to buy one for you, or better yet, pay someone $50 to get one.
Americans look overseas and fear terrorism and violence. Overseas, many countries look at us with bewilderment, as gunmen open fire in supermarkets, malls, grocery stores, workplaces, schools and churches and synagogues. Sweden – the whole country, 10.5 million people – in 2022 broke a record with 60 homicides, a total Detroit passes in March or April.
Some politicians scream about mental health, not guns. No, it’s about mental health and easy access to guns. And those same politicians do little to fund mental health.
Second Amendment lovers want the right for everyone to get guns. And so far, so good. But what amendment is it that gives the right to protect children from gun violence in schools, or allows folks to return home safely after grocery shopping or praying at a place of worship?
Columbine. Postal shootings. Mass shootings aren’t new. They just happened infrequently. That’s all changed. It used to be just crazy white people. Now, the list includes Blacks and Asians and people of all ages.
America needs to take a long look in the mirror. Politicians, many of whom care only about a paycheck and making it onto cable news, have to start somewhere by making it much tougher to get guns and carry them. Michigan has an open carry law, which means you can walk around like the wild west with a pistol in your holster. How crazy is that?
It’s time to push harder, raise more money and stand up to the NRA. Take on all the lobbying groups who think that everyone, short of those institutionalized with mental health issues, should own a gun.
What more will it take to do something?