Yet another mass shooting has devastated an American town.
The usual expressions of sympathy were offered. The usual demands for stronger protections were made, and the usual objections to them were offered in rebuttal. Perhaps the saddest part of the latest massacre is its predictability, and the equally predictable reactions.
But is it true that nothing can be done to prevent these tragedies? No, there is plenty that each of us can do. According to Pew Research, a huge majority (over 90 percent) of both gun owners and non-owners agree that there should be universal background checks for all gun purchases; and that sales of guns to the mentally ill should be restricted. Your legislators in Olympia are currently considering legislation of this type (HB 1122, HB 1387 and SB 5553).
So write and call your state representatives. Educate yourself on the issues surrounding guns and violence in our country. And vote for candidates who support smarter gun laws and better mental health care. In short, get involved!
Cars have become much safer over the last 50 years through better technology, better licensing rules for youth, and stricter DUI enforcement. The same can be done for firearms. For instance, the technology exists to make fingerprint-activated gun locks. Universal background checks could make it tougher for felons and substance abusers to buy weapons.
The big question is, how many more schoolkids, churchgoers and country music fans have to die before we have more effective laws? And how long it will take to pass them? Hopefully not 50 years.