This leads me to wondering if any place is safe from crazed, depressed people with guns. Yesterday, a man took a cab to a hospital in Knoxville, Tennessee, got out and opened fire on totally innocent people going about their business just outside of the hospital doors.What is going on? What caused this man to shoot strangers? Where did he get the gun? Who was he? Why a hospital? These questions need to be asked and answered. Once they are, what will we do about it?
Just a few years ago, another Knoxville shooting took place at, of all places, a church. Churches, like schools and hospitals, should be places of sanctuary where one should not expect crazed or vengeful shooters to take lives and wreak havoc. But on that Sunday in Knoxville, bullets flew as people were praying and children were singing. Once again, a man with a history of mental illness, suicidal behavior and domestic abuse, got a gun easily from a pawn shop. In this case, the shooter was after his ex-wife and, according to his own words, liberals and gay people. So, why do some people who are so angry with those who do not agree with them feel that a gun will solve the problem? How many stories do we read about men who use guns in anger, depression and loss of control in a break-up of a relationship? Too many.
In our culture of gun craziness , we can expect more shootings at schools, churches, hospitals and other public places. As long as we are unwilling to make it less possible for felons, mentally ill people, domestic abusers and others to get guns without background checks or buy them on illegal markets or steal them from homes where they are not locked up, then more senseless tragedies will occur. As long as those with the "bully pulpit" such as politicians and other leaders, don't speak out against these shootings, we will see more of them.
The anniversary of the Columbine shootings should be a day that we celebrate new legislation that would at least attempt to prevent other such shootings. That would be a fitting memorial to those lost lives. Instead, the loss of life continues unabated. Instead, the gun lobby is winning the debate. Instead, our political leaders are more afraid than ever of the guys with the guns. Instead, our leaders accept political contributions and support from the NRA. Where is common sense? Where is the outrage?