An opportunity to talk about gun laws? Not a chance.

September 17, 2013 10:14:43 AM



Can we talk about gun violence now? 


Of course not.  


Since details of Monday's murderous attack at the Washington Navy Yard are still emerging, it would be premature to use the tragic event, which took the lives of 12 innocents and the gunman, as the basis for a real conversation about the gun violence problem in the U.S. 


Sadly, there are plenty of other examples that are available, 8,168 of them by one estimate.  


Slate magazine began keeping a running toll of firearm deaths since the Newtown massacre in December. Beginning with those 26 deaths -- which included 20 schoolchildren -- the total, including the 12 who died Monday, now stands at 8,180. 


That's more than 5,000 more victims than the death toll from 9/11 and almost 2,500 more deaths than the U.S. military has suffered in 12-year War on Terror that came after those attacks. 


And that's just in the last eight months. 


As the debate heated up over what America's response should be to the "red line" crossed by Syria in its use of chemical weapons on its citizens, it became very clear that Americans are sick of war, sick of sacrificing our brave soldiers. 


But we do not appear to be sufficiently sick of the carnage we routinely see around us, apparently. 


At least, we are not sick enough of it to treat it as an issue that transcends politics and the big-money interests that align on either side of the faux debate. 


Even the most modest of efforts for some reasonable changes to gun laws has been met with blistering criticism. 


Of course, here in Mississippi some changes have been made to gun laws since Newtown. Our politicians have made guns more easily accessible and less regulated. Even the hint of some revision to ensure criminals or the mentally unstable do not have free and easy access to guns is condemned as an assault on the Second Amendment.  


It leaves us to wonder: What is the threshold of slaughter that will compel us to a real conversation, and a real solution? 


Should we be content to live in a society where random massacres are to be expected? 


Shall the right to keep and bear arms without any limitations, modifications or compromises continue to be preeminent over that right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that a 1,000 Americans forfeit each month to violent death at the hand of a gun? 


What amount of innocent blood is required to stir the national conscience? 


Can we talk about gun violence now? 


Of course not. 


Twelve more innocent people were slaughtered Monday. 


The band plays on. 


And the tune is "Taps."