Orlando, Sandy Hook, Columbine, Umpqua, Fort Hood, Aurora and practically every city across the United States.
Universities, colleges, nightclubs, high schools, churches, synagogues, movie theaters, stadiums, concerts, doctors’ offices and elementary classrooms across the United States.
The American people witnessed another mass shooting today.
Just another one, it seems like. They occur so often that they’re almost not newsworthy.
We often scoff at our government as out of touch and elitist. However, the government’s priorities reflect the priorities of the American people. As of now, our priorities as a nation are out of line.
Where is the effort from the federal government to prevent gun deaths in the United States? The answer: nowhere to be found.
We fail as a people to understand the magnitude of our gun sickness. We are so obsessed with protecting our Second Amendment rights that we forget the damage and destruction that our obsession entails.
We are so afraid a bogeyman is going to come collect our guns in the night that we fail to notice there are more kindergarteners murdered with firearms every year than police officers in the line of duty.
We are so paranoid the government is going to enslave us that we fail to realize that more Americans have died in the last 45 years from gun deaths than from war in 240 years of American history.
We treat terrorism, disease and even drug overdose as preventable, yet death at the hands of a murderer with a gun is “the price of freedom.”
Jeb Bush even said, “Stuff happens,” when asked about Umpqua.
Where is the outrage from politicians? Where is the action? Where is the effort to prevent the senseless deaths of 30,000 Americans every single year?
The answer: nowhere to be found.
We are numb. We lose 92 brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers to gun-related deaths every day in the United States. We simply and inarguably don’t care.
We are anesthetized to the reality that every two or three weeks a college or kindergarten classroom is going to be sprayed with bullets – apathetic that journalists are going to be slaughtered on live television. Our lethargy has become a sad routine that shows no sign of changing.
We are frozen based simply on the idea that any solution to this problem must be extreme. We fear Big Brother gathering up our guns. We ignore the actuality that the best solutions are not the most extreme, but the most balanced.
The endgame of “gun control” does not have to be the prohibition of guns. There is gray between black and white.
Automobiles are as much a regular feature of American life as firearms and similarly as useful. Automobiles and roads are two of the most regulated aspects of American life, yet practically every man and woman in the U.S. owns and operates a vehicle on a daily basis.
Automobiles have historically been the leading cause of injury death. However, over decades of regulation, the death rate of car crashes has fallen and fallen.
We should treat firearms like cars.
Everyone who is healthy and capable of operating a firearm safely should be allowed to own one. However, we must pass laws to prevent the mentally ill and criminally inclined from obtaining firearms.
The laws which could prevent firearms death include universal background checks and restrictions on certain types of guns, not an all-out ban. Yet, in our society today, it is impossible to pass any common-sense solutions.
We cannot see the gray between black and white.
The Second Amendment is an extremely important aspect of what defines our country, and gun ownership should not be banned. However, we can and must learn to coexist safely with guns, and that means regulation.
Other countries have nearly eliminated firearm deaths. We claim to be the greatest country on the planet, yet we refuse to even try.
Chip Brownlee can be reached at community@ThePlainsman.com
Editors Note: This article was updated on Sunday, June 12, 2016.