As the killing continues, we have to move beyond hyperbole and hate
No more. Really.
No more shootings. No more bombings. No more hatred and rage.
Less than a month ago, on Nov. 13, terrorists associated with DAESH (some people incorrectly call the group ISIS or ISIL) murdered 130 people and injured 360-plus more in coordinated suicide bombings and shootings in Paris.
On Friday, Nov. 27, Robert Dear walked into a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs and started shooting, killing three people and wounding nine more.
On Wednesday, Dec. 2, Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, walked into a social services center in San Bernadino, Calif., and opened fire, killing 14 people and injuring 21 more.
And to add to the horror, these are just the tip of the bloody iceberg. There have been 353 mass shootings so far this year in the U.S. — and as I write this, on Thursday, Dec. 3, that’s more mass shootings this year than there have been days this year. Today is only the 337th day of 2015.
Yeah, you read that right: 353 mass shootings in 337 days.
On Nov. 13, Gawain Rushane Wilson shot four people to death and injured a fifth in Jacksonville, Fla. You probably didn’t hear about that incident, because we were all focused on Paris. The same day Robert Dear murdered three people and injured nine more in Colorado Springs, an unknown shooter killed two people and injured two more in Sacramento.
Then Wednesday, the same day Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik went on their rampage in San Bernadino, an unknown shooter killed one person and injured three in Savannah, Ga.
Enough. It has to stop.
And you know what else I have had enough of? I have had enough of the wild-eyed rhetoric and hyperbole, from both sides of the great divide, over gun control laws: Ban all the guns! Ban all the gun control laws!
Here’s the fact of the matter, people: We are wwwwwaaaaayyyyy past the point of being able to fix by changing laws. We have to change minds. We have to change hearts. We have to change our ways of thinking.
Don’t misunderstand me. I am not in favor of doing away with gun control laws, nor do I oppose the passage of new, common-sense gun control laws. I grew up in rural Southeast Texas. I have been around guns all my life. I am not a hunter, but most of the people in my family are. They own and use guns, and they manage to do so without going around shooting people who have pissed them off.
The same is true for the vast majority of gun owners in this world. And I don’t think the government at any level should be able to take their guns — or their ammunition — away from them.
But at the same time, I sure as hell don’t think that everybody out there should be allowed to own a gun. There are people who are mentally unstable, people who have no training in using a gun, people who are reckless and careless and just plain mean. Folks like that shouldn’t be walking around armed with guns.
When it comes to semi-automatic assault rifles and armor-piercing bullets and other such weapons and ammunition — I really don’t see why any civilian needs that kind of weaponry. I just don’t.
And I don’t see why someone wanting to buy a gun who doesn’t have ill intentions can’t fill out some extra paperwork and wait a day or two more to get that gun if that will help keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them.
That’s not banning guns; that’s just using some common sense.
It’s been almost a month since the attacks on Paris, and investigations there continue. Investigations into Robert Dear’s rampage in Colorado Springs and the shootings yesterday in San Bernadino are just getting started. In each of these cases — and in the 351 other cases this year in the U.S. — the big question is always: Why?
Did Robert Dear shoot up Planned Parenthood because he had a personal beef with someone there, or because he is rabidly anti-abortion? Did Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik shoot those people in San Bernadino because he got into an argument with a coworker, or are they DAESH sympathizers striking out against those they see as enemies of Islam?
I can’t answer those questions. But at the same time, I can tell you why: Because somebody hated somebody, because somebody was mad at somebody, because somebody has no self-ontrol and a way-over-developed sense of their own righteousness.
That’s what lies at the root of all of it. That’s what we have to change.
And we can’t legislate the hate away. We can’t outlaw anger.
It won’t be easy, people. And I am not saying I have the answer. What I am saying is that I have had enough. We have all had enough. We can’t take much more.
So we have to stop screaming at each other. Stop insisting that “My way is the only right way and if you don’t agree with me you’re wrong, and I’ll just kill you if you don’t agree.”
Stop with the hateful diatribes — on all sides of the debates. No more hyperbole. No more ultimatums. We have to start somewhere. Make that somewhere be with you, with each of us.
Tammye Nash is managing editor of Dallas Voice.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 4, 2015.