Innocent people massacred.Click.Thoughts and prayers.Click.Weeping relatives.Click.Shooter with anger and resentment issues.Click.A well-regulated militia.Click, click, click.
On Wednesday in San Jose, nine people died of gunshots fired by Samuel Cassidy, a 57-year-old VTA maintenance worker. Law enforcement authorities said Thursday he was armed with three semi-automatic handguns and 11 ammunition magazines each holding 12 rounds, making them high-capacity magazines that are illegal in California. The shooter killed himself as sheriff’s deputies closed in.
After being briefed about this latest shooting, President Biden again called on Congress “to help end this epidemic of gun violence in America.” In April, Biden had called on Congress to pass a series of gun control measures.
Gov. Gavin Newsom had this to say in San Jose, post-killings:
“There’s a sameness to this, and a numbness … we’re all feeling. It begs the damn question, ‘what the hell is going on in the United States of America?’”
A sameness indeed. What the hell is going on?
Well, this: Wednesday’s mass murders were the 15th U.S. mass shooting this year.
As of Wednesday, according to the Gun Control Archive, there have been 231 shootings of multiple people in the United States in the first 146 days of 2021, killing 260 people and injuring 864.
Gun buying in California is up and gun violence is wracking Oakland and Los Angeles this year. And yet California has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation. These include a “red flag” law that lets family members and law enforcement ask a judge to temporarily confiscate guns from a threatening person and allows employers and coworkers also to make such requests.In Washington, the Senate also is expected to take up legislation that would close the loopholes on background checks for sales of firearms and waiting periods intended to prevent impulsive violence. But to get the legislation through Congress, a minimum of 10 Republicans will be needed to overcome an expected filibuster in the Senate.
Overcome they must. Otherwise, the “sameness” will be repeated and there will be another horrible gun rampage and more innocent people will be murdered in cold blood.
On March 30, in this space we wrote:“Here we go again on the endless and unresolved debate on gun control legislation … this country has utterly failed to establish universal policies that will end these wanton killings.
We’ve read that the pandemic put a temporary stop on mass shootings. As if. Consider that since 2013, there have been 2,000 mass shootings in the U.S. – about one a day. The list is numbing: Sandy Hook, Parkland, Las Vegas, Gilroy … marching toward Atlanta and Boulder, Colorado.In his news conference last week, President Biden called on Congress to not “wait another minute ” in enacting legislation to ban assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
But we know they will wait another minute and then some. Passing a federal ban on assault weapons may not be possible under the current Senate filibuster rules. But there’s no excuse for Congress not to move forward on closing the loopholes on background checks for sales of firearms …
Polls show the vast majority of Americans, including Republicans, favor universal background checks on gun purchases. Even a majority of gun owners and NRA members favor expanded background checks on firearms purchases.
The Brady Background Check System, passed by Congress in 1994, has prevented an estimated 4 million prohibited gun transactions. But the law failed to require background checks for gun purchases by private parties, commonly at gun shows or online. As a result, an estimated 22% of gun sales bypass the system.”
Nearly two months later, nothing has changed. We don’t know if this legislation would have stopped the latest senseless slaughter, but we have to start somewhere and we have to start now.