Gilroy. El Paso. Dayton. How many more?

Gilroy. El Paso. Dayton. How many more

On Sunday morning, Dayton, Ohio suffered the 251st U.S. mass shooting this year. 9 people were killed and 27 injured. The day before, in a shooting at an El Paso shopping mall, 20 people were killed and 26 injured. The preceding Monday, in Gilroy California, a gunman killed 3 people and injured 15. 3 gunmen perpetrated 32 gunshot homicides and 68 gunshot casualties in one week.

Three people were able to commit that human carnage because they used variants of assault rifles designed for the battlefield and equipped with high-capacity magazines. The gun industry has cynically re-branded these military-style firearms as “modern sporting rifles,” though they are designed to tumble when they hit a target and would shred game animals and blast 6-inch exit holes. That’s what happened to this week’s victims. It’s true that most of America’s yearly 40,000 gunshot fatalities are committed with handguns, but you don’t have mass shootings without weapons capable of mass shootings. Reinstituting the assault weapons ban is a good place to start.

In recent testimony, FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee that “a majority of the domestic terrorism cases that we’ve investigated are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence ….” This was apparently confirmed by subsequent mass murders in California and El Paso. Conspiracy theories were cited as a domestic terrorism problem in a recently revealed FBI document. “Thought Police” aren’t coming for racist true believers, no matter what conspiracy theorists may post on 8chan. Keeping military-type, high-capacity weapons out of the hands of lunatics is a practical and urgent need. It does no good to diagnose mentally-ill people after they’ve slaughtered others. Assault weapons bans, high-capacity magazine bans, age restrictions, permit-to-purchase licensing, universal background checks, safe storage campaigns and red-flag laws are the least our country can do.


“‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens,” The Onion

“There are no lone wolves,” Juliette Kayyem, Washington Post

“Mass murder in America,” Mike Allen, Axios

“The terrible numbers that grow with each mass shooting,” Bonnie Berkowitz, Denise Lu and Chris Alcantara, Washington Post

“How to Reduce Shootings,” Nicholas Kristof, New York Times

“Guns and public health: Applying preventive medicine to a national epidemic,” CBS News

“This is the gun control legislation Mitch McConnell won’t allow senators to vote on,” Nicholas Wu, USA Today


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Image (“Old Glory”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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