In the aftermath of yet another mass shooting, we're finding out, soberly, who we are
The Navy Yard shootings are the most recent episode of what has become the new American normal, a danse macabre that takes place in different towns around the country, always unannounced, with startling suddenness and a predictable response from a national audience.
Mass killings no longer shock us as they once did, evoking now a practiced sadness and the mournful resignation that it has happened yet again. All of the players on the national scene know their lines and the media dust off the debating points from the last time for another go-round that will last maybe until the funerals.
Gun safety advocates will call for tighter controls, including background checks. Pro-gun voices will assert that nothing can be done legislatively to help prevent these killings. The National Rifle Association, which has learned to wait until the dust has settled before weighing in, will eventually blame the killings on everything but their own interests.
In less time than it used to take, we will all move on, except for the small group of Americans who are directly affected by this carnage. Their lives will be forever changed — loved ones gone or maimed; futures shattered. The rest of us will be whistling past the graveyard, glad we were spared.
And how could we expect change now if the killings at Sandy Hook School were not enough to shock us into national action? The faces of the 20 grade-schoolers and six adults who were gunned down in Connecticut filled the media during the holidays, breaking hearts and hardening resolve. But that was not enough.
Then, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who received an A rating from the NRA, said, “I think opening up and seeing a massacre like this, of innocent children, it's changed things. It's changed America.” But he was wrong.
Manchin and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., both good men, co-sponsored a background check bill that was defeated in the Senate. Manchin indicated last week that he has no plans to fight that battle again.
Is it time to accept that this is who we really are, a nation that will never muster the will to even try to solve this problem, a nation willing to settle for a regular ritual of self-flagellation over a tragedy that we do not even try to prevent?
Trauma center director Dr. Janis Orlowski, whose job appears to be quite secure, spoke to the media after treating some of the Navy Yard victims.
“There's something evil in our society that we as Americans have to work to try and eradicate,” she said. “I would like you to put my trauma center out of business. I really would. I would like to not be an expert on gunshots.”
Joseph Sabino Mistick, a lawyer, law professor and political analyst, lives in Squirrel Hill (SabinoMistick@aol.com).
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Outdoors notices: Oct. 5, 2015
- Steelers cut Scobee, sign free agent kicker Boswell
- Sunday - Oct. 4, 2015
- High-speed chase ends in Duquesne crash
- Strong police presence cut crimes, behavior issues at IUP homecoming, police say
- Are Pirates better positioned to win it all this postseason?
- Pitt holds off Virginia Tech in ACC opener
- New book credits Nunn for Steelers’ 1970s success
- Girl battling cancer scratches item off bucket list with PNC Park trip
- Diminishing number of pilots takes toll on small airports in Western Pa.
- Shaler man charged in death of girl, 6, not prosecuted in repeated alcohol cases