I’ve been at a loss for words. One thing that sticks out for me today stems from a habit I’ve recently developed — for better or worse — from reporting on mass shootings: extensively scouring social media posts. As you’d probably expect, in response to today’s attack in Orlando, there was plenty of garbage to sift through: Folks immediately pointing out the shooter was a registered Democrat, so, what does HRC have to say! Others pointing out the shooter was Muslim, so, outrage! The possible next president literally taking a victory lap not even seven hours after the shooter was killed. “Appreciate the congrats,” he, amazingly, said, followed by: “I called it,” reiterating his call for something now generally being referred to as The Ban (that we even understand what that means is depressing enough). Progressives joyfully calling out lawmakers who opposed legislation to ban individuals on the terrorism watch list from purchasing guns — despite the fact the terrorism watch list is so arbitrary it includes children as young as 7 months old. Lengthy quibbles over whether news outlets are wrong for calling it the worst mass shooting in US history, or the worst mass shooting in modern US history.
Nothing changed in 2012 when a guy gunned down two-dozen elementary school kids, so it’s hard to imagine this’ll spark any desire to reverse course. And if social media is meant to capture a snapshot of the modern day US, the vile garbage posted today makes a fairly convincing case that a disconcerting majority are more concerned with making a Point than genuinely considering what could be done to implement some modicum of change. The common refrain in response to these types of events is something like, “Not again,” but we seemingly end the thought there. I don’t know if that’s a numb acceptance that this is now a fixture of everyday life, a sense of defeat that the system in its present form won’t allow for change, or just a lack of willingness to keep pushing to enact a fix, or what. Still, I guess it bears repeating: It should not have happened.
But there will be another mass shooting, and there will continue to be relentless gun violence on a daily basis in cities across the US at the insane proportions we’ve been accustomed to for some time. So it goes.