Ending the Violence
Eleven people were killed and six others wounded (including four police officers) in Pittsburgh on Saturday in what some described as the 294th mass shooting in the U.S. in 2018. Yes, 294 mass shootings in our country alone in less than 10 months, which works out to nearly one mass shooting a day, every day. The Pittsburgh tragedy capped off a week in which two people were killed outside of a grocery store in Kentucky, not long after the suspect tried to enter a black church, and 14 pipe bombs were sent through the U.S. mail system, mostly to Democrats, a couple of former presidents, a former vice president, and other current and former government officials. All in just one week.
The Congressional Research Service defines mass shootings as those in which shooters “select victims somewhat indiscriminately and kill four or more people.” Gun Violence Archive defines a mass shooting somewhat differently as a “single incident in which four or more people, not including the shooter, are shot and/or killed at the same general time and location.” Not to split hairs or mince words, but both definitions are sickening. The fact that a mass shooting has to be defined and has become so commonplace boggles the mind.
What is happening in our country? What was a once-in-a-while occurrence years ago now seems to happen daily, fed by hatred, divisiveness, racism, polarization, nationalism, isolationism, prejudice, and anti-Semitism to name just a few. And these problems are stoked on a daily basis by politicians and elected officials who think blaming the other guy is the answer, rather than leading by example and trying to build bridges and mend fences.
When is enough going to be enough? So far, none of the reactions to these mass killings has risen to the level where the rhetoric and hyperbole stops and people start realizing that words matter. WORDS MATTER!
The last time our country came together in a bipartisan way was on September 11, 2001. It took a foreign attack on U.S. soil, which resulted in nearly 3,000 fatalities, for our country to come together as one, united in our resolve to not only defend our great nation but make sure those who perpetrated the 9/11 events would be brought to justice and that it would never happen again.
Now we are destroying ourselves from the inside. Most of these mass shootings are being committed by Americans. They are killing their American neighbors on American soil. We’re literally violently killing ourselves. And the daily political rallying cries of lock them up, fire them, beat the __ out of them, and the like may just be the signal that pushes some of these unstable people over the edge to do the things we saw last week in Kentucky, Pittsburgh, and South Florida.
As we say in business, the fish stinks from the head down.
Tuesday is Election Day. We need leaders who want to unify, not divide; build, not destroy; tell the truth, not lie; make us proud and don’t embarrass us. Exercise your right to vote and send a message that the status quo needs to change.