When Thoughts and Prayers Don’t Seem Enough

A Call To Action

June 7, 2019

We are all trying to come to terms with last week’s tragic shooting at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center. 12 innocent people lost their lives during a wanton act of violence which will not only change the way we do business at the municipal center, but will also forever change all of our lives.  Tragic mass shootings seem to have become so frequent lately that we run the risk of becoming desensitized to them.  It’s as if we’ve somehow come to expect them. Still, who among us would have thought such a deadly mass shooting would occur right here in our backyard?

The governor is calling for an emergency special session of the state legislature to take action on gun control. Ironically, the gun and silencer used in the massacre were all purchased legally.   One of the survivors of the attack reportedly mistook the sound of the gunfire for that of a mechanical nail gun.   I can’t help but wonder if some of the victims would have had more precious time to take cover if they had realized earlier the sound of an automatic pistol being fired. 

Which begs the question - why does the average citizen need of a silencer/suppressor much less an assault weapon or high- capacity ammunition magazines?  While I commend the governor for seeking changes to Virginia’s gun laws (which are currently among the least-restrictive in the US) the cynic in me says little if anything will change.   I thought the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting that took the lives of 20 children in the dawn of life and six staff members would have resulted in more commonsense gun control laws.  It didn’t.

Truth is I’m not sure restrictive gun laws would prevent mass slaughters at our schools, places of worship or anywhere else.  I wonder how many mass shooters have some sort of serious mental disorder.   What occurred early in their lives that later manifests itself in such a horrific act of violence?   Is it a propensity towards violence in our society? Probably.  Violence is a part of popular culture. It’s how the west was won.  It defined the Greatest Generation; those who grew up during the Great Depression, many of whom fought in World War II.  Violence is glorified in video games, motion pictures and popular music and is arguably part of our DNA.  However, we cannot allow the carnage of innocent victims to become routine or commonplace.  We as a community and country need and deserve more than just thoughts, prayers and condolences during times of tragic events.  Is there a way to fix our gun laws, or do we just allow the carnage to continue?