Why Are You Not Outraged?

There is no single accepted definition of a mass shooting. Let’s assume mass shootings involve the death of four or more people. Since 1982, the United States has seen more than 70 such events. Am I outraged? Nah, it’s just collateral damage, a price we pay so we can all have our guns, as God intended.

Recall, if you will, the June 2014 mass shooting in Las Vegas by Jerad and Amanda Miller. These two transported their guns and ammunition through four miles of Las Vegas city streets. Four miles hauling a shopping cart overflowing with enough guns and ammo to supply a Rambo movie and not one resident or passerby thought to alert the authorities. How is it that we, as a society, don’t think twice about two people walking down the street with a shopping cart full of guns and ammo? In what world is that not an alarming sight?

The NRA and its plethora of gun advocates are getting exactly what they want. Mr. and Mrs. Miller purchased enough weapons and ammunition to fill a shopping cart. They had not committed a crime. They took the cart full of weapons and ammunition to a public area. They had not committed a crime. They walked four miles down public streets with the cart full of weapons and ammunition. They had not committed a crime. They took the cart full of weapons and ammunition to a pizzeria and murdered two police officers. At this moment, they finally committed their first crime of the day. Shouldn’t proactive legislation be enacted so scenarios like these can be stopped at the beginning instead of the unavoidable, tragic end?

Our culture accepts these events. We don’t have to.

People are carrying guns everywhere and not being shy about it. They’re walking into Chipotle with assault rifles. They’re walking into Chili’s proudly carrying their weapons over their shoulder. We live in a society that celebrates this type of activity as patriotic. I question if these actions should even be legal, must less patriotic.

Florida has a famous stand your ground law. This law allows you to respond to fear of imminent great bodily harm or death with deadly force. You no longer have to be on your own property as this law applies anywhere. If I’m carrying a weapon at a Chili’s and a bunch of Duck Dynasty looking men walk in with assault rifles over their shoulder, I would fear imminent great bodily harm or death. I could shoot to kill.

Is this what we want with our society? Is this what we have come to expect as routine? Everyone gets a gun and we all start shooting each other? You laugh, but that’s precisely what is happening.

Scott Maxwell writes last week about a young activist shot to death in the neighborhood he was working to clean up. But what’s even more startling about that piece is the reaction from the city council at a time when Mayor Dyer is pushing his marijuana decriminalization effort.

Yet the same edition featured members of the Orlando council fretting that fining (instead of jailing) people for misdemeanor pot possession might hurt Orlando’s tourist reputation as “family oriented.”
“Why tarnish a positive image?” asked councilman Sam Ings.
Really? Nine people were shot or slaughtered on your streets last Saturday — and you’re worried that pot citations might give us an image problem?

Indeed, Mr. Maxwell, indeed. We certainly live in a society with skewed and distorted views.

Those views are the result of decades long conditioning by the NRA firing into our brains that guns aren’t a problem. The NRA and gun advocates may not intend for mass shootings to occur but the policies they support permit such travesties. Action must be taken to prevent future atrocities. The time for discussion has long since passed. The time for action is now. No need to wait for the next mass murder. Although, the wait probably won’t be very long.