It was Stephen Colbert who suggested most recently that we as a nation are perilously close to redefining insanity: We keep doing the same thing and we expect different results. He was referencing the shootings in Oregon last week, but it was a refrain to which we are all beginning to fall prey. Pun intended.
There have been forty-five school shootings so far in 2015. My quick math suggests that works out to be five a month, which is troubling since we just finished summer vacation and it doesn't seem that we got any sort of break from the carnage. Maybe your prefer your body count in an easier to digest form a la USA Today: The friendly folks at The Guardian have made a nice pictograph showing nine hundred ninety-four mass shootings in one thousand four days. You can trust the Brits to make us Yanks feel just a little obvious with out ninety-nine percent shooting per day ratio. That's the United Kingdom, where owning guns is not a right, it's a crime. They find this whole mess rather distasteful and confounding.
Back here on our shores, the politics are pretty simple: Red is pretty gun crazy and blue is apologetic for being gun crazy. Always that fine line. It took Jeb Bush nearly a week to live down his reaction to the shootings at a community college in Oregon. His wisdom on the matter: "Stuff happens." Very zen, Jeb, but maybe you're just a little north of that sincerity mark that would have put you squarely on message. You know, sympathizing with the victims, but insisting that some "good guns" would have made all the difference.
That's what Donald Trump believes. He even went so far as to assert that these kind of things are an "unfortunate inevitability." If you didn't want to be shot, why did you come to this country in the first place? He's got a concealed weapons permit because "it's a right, not a privilege." This should come as no surprise to anyone who has listened to this man for more than thirty seconds. Each sound bite from the Donald is a meal. His supporters wholeheartedly believe that a crazy person will get a gun and there's nothing you can do about it except get a gun and shoot first.
And ask questions later. Better yet: don't ask. We already know the answer.