Sunday night. Las Vegas. The Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. 32nd floor. Room 135. Hell. It’s where Stephen Paddock, 64, a rich, white domestic terrorist unleashed a diabolical attack using a machine-gun-like automatic weapon that killed 59 country music festival attendees and wounded hundreds more in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
It’s been almost five years since 26 people, including 20 first-graders, were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.
In between Sandy Hook and Vegas there’s been myriad mass shootings. Each one seemingly worse than the last. These include attacks at the Washington Navy Yard; Charleston, SC; San Bernardino, CA; Orlando, FL; and the Congressional baseball practice in DC.
And have we done anything about it? Fuck no. We as a nation have done nothing to limit who gets guns, where they get guns, how they get guns or what kind of guns or ammunition they can buy. Mass shootings, while dominating the news cycle, comprise just a small percentage of the overall gun deaths in America. Between 2001 and 2013, 406,496 people died as a result of gun violence, roughly half of them suicides, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Gun ownership is out of control. We have more guns per 100 people than Yemen and Iraq combined. The United States has become like the Wild West.
With each new mass shooting we’re glued to 24/7 news porn. And we cry out for change. But we’re told “It’s too soon.” Too soon to talk about guns and the need for stricter gun laws. We’re sanctimoniously lectured that we must respect the dead and wounded. That we shouldn’t exploit the victims by politicizing the tragedies. But with Republicans, who control Congress, it’s always too soon. Doesn’t matter whether it’s before, during or after a horrific shooting. With Republicans, no time is a good time to talk about gun control. Not today, not tomorrow. Never. So nothing ever gets done. The bullets keep flying and the blood keeps spilling.
It’s time to do something. It’s time to put it all on the table, including the purchasing, licensing, training and storage of weapons. And it’s time to ban high-capacity magazines. We don’t need anymore adult conversations. We don’t need prayers. We don’t need moments of silence. We don’t need coming together. We don’t need bullshit. What we need is for Congress to get off its lame, NRA-ass-kissing ass and legislate. And we need that legislation now.