Editor and Publisher Don Rogers: Will we move beyond just talk this time?
Vail, CO, Colorado
Pretty much, what can be said has been said about the mass murder in Connecticut.
We’re mourning for the children, awed at their heroic educators, railing at society, arguing over gun control, demanding better care for the mentally ill, mad at the media.
Politicians, pundits, you and me. The shows, the papers, the blogs, the social networks, many of our face-to-face conversations. So much talk.
A young man went crazy and did this deed that feels way too commonplace. And a nation becomes inflamed. Again.
What to do? Something must be done. Enough already with words and leaving it at that.
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At least we say this while the fervor glows white hot.
Remember, though, that we’re in an era of no-backing-down gridlock.
Gov. Hickenlooper’s plea to at least agree to the same set of facts is likely to go by the wayside. But he does have a Democratic advantage in the Colorado Legislature to push through some sensible change in our all-too-gun-happy ways.
We’re headed fast for the fiscal cliff, and I think we can agree we’ve gone clear off another cliff now with Connecticut.
Politically speaking, America’s mood has shifted against the Republican direction with economic policy and maybe too much liberty with firearms – particularly of the rapid-firing, rapid-killing variety.
Care for the mentally ill will come under the legislative microscope, along with lots of discussion about the possible link between violent video games and the seeming likelihood that these crazy killers are young, withdrawn men.
The discussion I haven’t heard so much is this: the futility of trying to legislate, regulate, throw a civic safety net over the American populace to knock down the chances of this lightning striking again.
The U.S. population numbers 315 million now. A small percentage can be categorized as mentally ill, and a very small percentage of them are dangerous. But that’s still a lot of people, too many with access to weapons in the easiest developed nation to arm up.
While it seems right now that mass murders happen all the time, that’s not true. This remains very rare.
What’s the cost benefit to making these very rare occurrences by shades more rare?
We may saw away against the hard edge of gridlock, accomplishing little. I’m not so sure there will be much discussion about, forgive me, bang for the buck when it comes to keeping our kids safer.
That is, effective action we can take long before the moment someone’s finger finds a trigger. Again.
Editor and Publisher Don Rogers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-748-2920.