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All the tragic details of the mass shooting at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis last week are not yet known, but the numbers are: eight people shot and killed, and several others were wounded. Across the nation, people like you and me are offering up their heartfelt thoughts and prayers for the victims and for their families.
According to “Everytown for Gun Safety,” the FedEx shootings constitute at least the 251st mass shooting since January 2009, and that does not count the average of 100 people who are killed with guns every day, and 230 who are wounded – 365 days a year, every year. Our national response has been predictable. Many on the more liberal side of politics are calling for increased restrictions on the ability to purchase a firearm, especially handguns and so-called assault rifles whose design purpose is not to hunt wildlife but rather to kill other people. And many on the more conservative side are opposing such restrictions, vowing to “Save the Second Amendment” as if it were a living being like those 100 people who will be killed by guns today. Beyond thoughts and prayers, little has been done to prevent mass shootings this year, shootings in Boulder, Colorado; Baltimore County, Maryland; Orange, California; Allen, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; and Rock Hill, right here in South Carolina. Many self-described supporters of the Second Amendment opine that the problem is inadequate treatment of mental health, implying that those who kill masses of other people are by definition insane and should have been found before the killings took place – without specifying who should be empowered to designate somebody else as crazy enough to lose their right to bear arms.
One definition of insanity, so the popular saying goes, is to keep doing the same thing while expecting the outcome to be different this time. While nobody seems to be in favor of mass shootings regardless of whether the murderer used a handgun or an assault rifle or another weapon, everybody seems to want such killings to stop. The political question is this: what should we do differently after the FedEx killings, to produce an outcome that really is different this time, an outcome that might avoid a mass shooting in Columbia, or Charleston, or Aiken, or Edgefield? Should we take some new actions this time to furtherregulate firearms available to that “well-regulated Militia” described in the Bill of Rights, seemingly constituting most of our population? Is it rational to expect that among all the democracies in the world, ours is the only one in which firearms outnumber people?
Doing the same thing – that is, doing nothing but hoping and praying following each horrifying incident – while expecting the outcome to be different this time, is insane. Let us vow in 2021 to stop acting crazy regarding Second Amendment rights.