'What is wrong with us?'

This editorial appeared in the Connecticut Post.

A year ago, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy defiantly commanded the Senate floor for 15 hours, saying “I’ve had enough.”

“I’ve had enough of the ongoing slaughter of innocents, and I’ve had enough of inaction in this body.”

What has changed in the year since the Connecticut Democrat’s filibuster? Nothing in Congress, except a new administration.

But across the land, we’ve seen more mass shootings, more senseless death, unending heartbreak for families. And nothing — nothing — is done to stop the violence.

A mass shooting last Wednesday at a San Francisco UPS facility, with three dead before the shooter killed himself, attracted little attention, overshadowed by the mass shooting at a Republican baseball practice near D.C. where a deranged man opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle and injured five before someone shot him. That’s how commonplace shootings have become.

The early morning shooting on the Alexandria, Virginia, baseball field was the 145th mass shooting this year.

What is wrong with us?

While clearly national legislative change is imperative — universal background checks are a basic step — the dialogue has to move beyond Second Amendment rights vs. gun control. Such polarization has gotten the country nowhere.

A mentally ill person with a semi-automatic weapon designed for killing is a recipe for disaster. James Hodgkinson, 66, had a gun license in his home state of Illinois. If he hadn’t, though, he could have easily gotten a gun in Virginia, which has no background checks for private sales, no registration.

Hodgkinson was staunchly anti-Trump. The man who shot and severely wounded then-U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords in a Tucson shopping center, and killed six others in 2011, was staunchly anti-liberal.

The feverish, and still rising, animosity between Trump supporters and haters — fueled from the top — must abate. People can disagree politically without hating each other.

What is it, increasingly, that makes people reach for a gun to settle disputes or to quiet whatever demon is inside? Why does our culture promote violence? And what can be done to change that?

These questions should be explored in a bipartisan, open-minded, honest manner.

Nothing has changed to make the country safer in the past year. Nothing has changed nationally since 20 first graders and six educators were shot to death at Sandy Hook four and a half years ago.

Another year should not pass with no action. Given the frequency of mass shootings, another day is too long.

 

The editorial board is composed of the publisher and four journalists of varied editing and reporting backgrounds. The board's discussions and information gained from its meetings with political, civic, and business leaders drive the institutional voice of The Day, as expressed in its editorials. The editorial department operates separately from the newsroom.

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