INDIANAPOLIS -- It was the start of the Labor Day weekend.

The driver in West Texas failed to use a turn signal.

Police pulled him over.

And, because this is the America the National Rifle Association has made, the driver pulled out an AR-15-style weapon and opened fire.

He shot at the police. He took off, firing at anyone who crossed his path. He hijacked a post office truck, killing the driver.

Police responded fast. They chased him to a movie theater parking lot and killed him in a shootout.

Fast as they were, the police couldn't stop the shooter before he had killed seven innocent people and wounded nearly two dozen more.

Among the dead were a 15-year-old girl who was car-shopping for her older brother with her family and a 56-year-old father of three who had moved from Las Vegas, Nevada, following the mass shooting there, because he thought Texas would be safer.

Among the wounded is a 17-month-old girl who took shrapnel to the body and had a bullet pass through her mouth, knocking out her front teeth.

Just another holiday weekend here in America.

Because gun-related holocausts in America are so common, the events following the murder and mayhem followed a pattern.

The politicians who are on the NRA's leash started figuring out ways to avoid having to consider any of the sensible gun-control measures overwhelming majority of Americans want.

These elected officials who are in the pocket of the gun lobby have stopped even pretending that they are trying to make sense.

They argue, for example, that more guns will make us safer. The best defense to a bad guy with a gun, they say, is an untrained good guy with a gun ­-- or a lot of untrained good guys with guns.

Well, the United States has 5 percent of the population -- and more than 50 percent of the world's privately-owned guns. This latest shooting took place, as several others have, in Texas, a state with some of the nation's loosest gun laws.

The shooting spree covered miles of distance and involved hundreds of people. Some -- maybe many -- of them likely were armed. But not one of those untrained civilians stopped the carnage.

No, as is always the case, it was the trained police officers who brought the killing to an end.

The gun advocates also say that locking more people up is the answer.

But America already has a higher percentage of its population behind bars than most police states.

If more guns and more people behind bars were the solution to our gun violence epidemic, the United States would be the safest place on earth.

Instead, we lead the developed nations of the world in gun-related deaths, gun-related injuries and mass shootings by a Grand Canyon-sized margin.

We Americans pay a high price for this insanity.

Think of what that 15-year-old girl might have accomplished with her life. Think of what all the young people we have lost might have done with the years -- the decades -- taken from them.

Think of the family of that father who fled Las Vegas to get away from gun-related violence only to run into it in West Texas. Think of the grief his wife will carry with her for the rest of her days and the wounds his children always will bear.

Think of the little girl who forever will consider the world a place where a bullet can come out of nowhere, punch a hole in her head and knock her teeth out.

Think of all the fathers, all the mothers, all the brothers and all the sisters touched by gun-related violence and the hurt that shapes their lives.

Think also of this land the NRA has made. We now teach our children to look for all exits at school and crowded buildings in case an active shooter shows up. We tell them this is just the way people must live, because we can't even talk in any meaningful way about the horrors that afflict us.

The people who died in Texas weren't doing anything special.

They were shopping for cars, running errands, doing their jobs.

A routine traffic stop started the horror.

That's the horror of it.

It's all routine now.

John Krull is director of Franklin College's Pulliam School of Journalism and publisher of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

React to this story:

0
0
0
0
0

Recommended for you