It just never ends. A Planned Parenthood was shot up last friday. Today, it’s a center for developmental disabilities in California.
As of this writing: 14 dead, 14 injured. Soon, we will know the victims’ names, and forget them just as quickly. The name of the shooter (or possibly multiple shooters, in this case) will remain with us longer.
Those responsible may be apprehended, or may die before being taken–either killed by police, or through self-inflicted wounds.
It won’t matter either way.
These shootings are commonplace in the US, so routine The Onion has a copy-and-paste article they put up every time we have one:
ISLA VISTA, CA—In the days following a violent rampage in southern California in which a lone attacker killed seven individuals, including himself, and seriously injured over a dozen others, citizens living in the only country where this kind of mass killing routinely occurs reportedly concluded Tuesday that there was no way to prevent the massacre from taking place. “This was a terrible tragedy, but sometimes these things just happen and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them,” said North Carolina resident Samuel Wipper, echoing sentiments expressed by tens of millions of individuals who reside in a nation where over half of the world’s deadliest mass shootings have occurred in the past 50 years and whose citizens are 20 times more likely to die of gun violence than those of other developed nations. “It’s a shame, but what can we do? There really wasn’t anything that was going to keep this guy from snapping and killing a lot of people if that’s what he really wanted.” At press time, residents of the only economically advanced nation in the world where roughly two mass shootings have occurred every month for the past five years were referring to themselves and their situation as “helpless.”
That one’s from a shooting in May of last year, but of course all you have to change are some names and minor details and it still works. I don’t even remember the Isla Vista shooting. There are so many, who could keep them all in memory for quick recall?
I wrote about the Planned Parenthood shooting just yesterday. I had planned to write about something different today, but that went out the window with news of yet another mass shooting in, as The Onion notes, “the only nation where this regularly happens.”
Why talk about gun control? It’s clear that, as much as we might say we want it, we’ll never make it happen.
Why talk about mental illness? Has a single one of these shootings ever led to improved access, treatment, or outcomes?
Why pretend we care about the victims? There will be more next week, or even tomorrow.
These events have become normal. Most such shootings don’t even make national news anymore–we have one (or more) almost daily, but they don’t hit the front pages of newspapers or websites unless there’s something unusual about them, like a high body count or an atypical target, or even just having it happen close enough to a journalist willing to make a fuss about it.
But we’ll go through our usual ritual of pretending we’re upset about it, let the emotion fade, do nothing, and repeat the cycle the next time some deranged misanthrope decides to mow down a bunch of people over either hateful political beliefs or no coherent reason at all.
Nothing will change because we just don’t want it to.