The cries of outrage and frustration are already beginning to drown out those of sorrow and anguish in the wake of the Sutherland Springs church massacre. Twenty-six dead, 20 wounded. Dead babies, massacred children, broken bodies, broken hearts, broken homes, too many tears.
Now we must add our voice to those demanding something be done. Yes, we know the trigger didn’t pull itself; as gun-rights activists say, this was the act of a madman, not a gun. But how did a man who was drummed out of the military, who cracked his child’s skull, who escaped a mental institution, who mistreated animals ever get his hands on any kind of gun – much less a gun capable of dealing death on such a rapid and indiscriminate scale? That’s the problem. Getting such guns is so easy in America that even the marginally sane can buy them.
Here are excerpts from other editorial pages:
Chicago Tribune: Tens of thousands of churches held worship services Sunday, but it was the First Baptist Church in tiny Sutherland Springs that came under surprise attack by a heavily armed, disgraced Air Force veteran wearing a ballistic vest and skull face mask. ... (This isn’t) a time to mourn and shrug. America needs to deal with its propensity for gun violence.
New York Times: The ritual of mass shootings must include instant questions about the killer’s precise motive, as if his horrific deed can be truly fathomed. The most pertinent answer is that the killer did it because he could – he could get the firepower, a viciously effective Ruger assault rifle, and register his grievance ... by applying destructive force upon the innocent. Trump called the rampage a “mental health problem at the highest level” and not “a guns situation.” This is (a) cynical evasion ... Trump signed a law in February revoking an Obama-era regulation that made it more difficult for the mentally ill to purchase guns.
Bloomberg View: If the goal is to stop future shooting sprees – and it should be – the right question to ask is simple: What steps can be taken to reduce their likelihood? Nothing can change what happened, and no law can stop every murderous madman. (But) whenever such a mass shooting occurs, elected officials who fear the gun lobby pretend that nothing more can be done. They offer prayers and platitudes that are quickly forgotten, instead of working to enact policies to help defend a nation that is constantly under attack from its not-so-well-regulated militia.
San Diego Union-Tribune: They used to strike all of America like thunderbolts, these tragedies. ... But now, the massacre of so many people – one of the five deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history – doesn’t stop us in our tracks. It’s becoming routine. ... Can’t we finally move past the “slippery slope” argument and do basic things to make it more difficult for deranged individuals to get hold of military-style semiautomatic weapons that enable mass murder?
East Bay Times: When people are angry in America, have guns on hand and are themselves ready to die, these tragedies sometimes happen. ... No one action or law can reverse this trend, just as no one action turned smoking from a social practice to anathema, or drunk driving from a wink-and-nod to a serious crime. Legislation is needed ... (but) our culture has to shift to welcome that legislation. And we are starting way late.
Washington Post: There will surely be a next time unless national lawmakers come to grips with the problem and take meaningful steps to stem the obscene and unfettered access to weapons of war.