Two horrific mass shootings Saturday, the first in El Paso, Texas, the second in Dayton, Ohio, awakened the gun-grabbers, who all pointed fingers in different directions but missed the mark entirely.
Following the shooting at an El Paso Walmart, actress and activist Alyssa Milano suggested to the department store chain that “This would be a great opportunity for you to take a true leadership position and stop selling guns.”
Washington Examiner deputy editor Jay Caruso observed, however, that “Walmart stopped selling firearms like this in 2015 and they only sell handguns in their Alaska stores.”
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, blamed Congress — especially the Senate — for not passing adequate gun control legislation, and asked that the senate majority leader call a special session to approve universal background checks. Background checks are already conducted any time a firearm is sold by a dealer in the United States.
A number of people blamed Republicans for the shooting, and both Democratic Presidential hopeful Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke and CNN’s Jake Tapper honed in on the most visible party member — President Donald Trump.
“Former congressman from El Paso, Beto O’Rourke, said that the president’s rhetoric is making things worse and creating an atmosphere of violence,” Tapper told El Paso Mayor Dee Margo, who refused to take the bait.
Filmmaker and activist Adam Best blamed the El Paso shooting on the Lone Star State itself.
“Another Texas mass shooting,” Best said. “Sutherland Springs, Santa Fe, now El Paso Walmart. It's a god damn tragedy people can’t pray, learn or shop without getting shot. Not surprising in a state where Gov. Abbott begs people to buy guns and the GOP is more beholden to the NRA than voters.”
A favorite scapegoat is the National Rifle Association, as well as talk radio host Dana Loesch, a former NRA spokeswoman.
“How do you type tweets with so much blood on your hands?” U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights director Yousef Munayyer asked of Loesch, despite that not a single NRA member has ever been accused of committing a mass shooting, and the NRA’s mission is firearm safety and education.
A popular NRA mantra is that the only thing stopping a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro disputed that.
“The NRA, for years, has said that the answer to these mass shootings is more guns, that a good guy with a gun is the answer,” Castro told CNN. “We’re in Texas. That shooter went into a situation where people routinely carry guns.”
Yet “good guys with guns,” in the form of law enforcement, “literally saved hundreds of lives,” according to local NBC affiliate WLWT.
The most clearheaded assessment came from acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, who blamed the attacks on America’s obsession with social media.
"We've given a wide audience to these people, we've made them celebrities, we've allowed them to spew their hate without any restrictions whatsoever," Mulvaney told ABC News Sunday morning.
"I'm not saying we're going to regulate social media, I'm saying we're going to have a broad-based discussion about the causes here," he added.
The New York Daily News reported disturbing polling data Saturday that confirms Mulvaney’s assessment.
A YouGov survey indicated that more than one out of five millennials — those reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century — have no friends. They have no old friends, no new friends, none whatsoever.
“Strong social relationships support mental health, and that ties into better immune function, reduced stress and less cardiovascular activation,” Debra Umberson, a professor of sociology at the University of Texas, told Time magazine in 2015.
And we see the effects every day.
I ride a bicycle to church every Sunday, and make it a point during the three-mile trip to convey a cheerful “good morning” to every person I meet or pass along the way.
Fewer than 20 percent respond, or even acknowledge my presence. Most concentrate on their smart phone or tablet. Others simply stare straight ahead, seemingly fearful of human contact.
Newsmax contributor Bill O’Reilly referred to it as “the rise of the machines” when he was still at Fox News, and said smart phones and the like were partly responsible for society’s ills.
The Small Arms Survey, a Geneva, Switzerland-based research project, reported a few years back that while the United States leads the world in per capita gun ownership, it placed 59th in per capita firearm-related homicides.
If we don’t get a handle on what’s really ailing America, we can expect to move up from number 59.
It’s not the guns, nor is it Congress, the GOP, the NRA, the state of Texas, nor President Trump. It’s the people. As Pogo in a former popular comic strip once said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He’s also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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