Draw another big red "x" on your calendars because as of today there have been 355 mass shootings in the United States in the past year. That's more than one-a-day and we're not even done with the year yet. Right now in San Bernardino, California, law enforcement officials are on a massive manhunt for what might be three men armed with assault weapons who opened fire inside a government facility that provides aid for people with disabilities. At least 14 are dead with just as many injured, while the shooters managed to get away in a dark SUV.
The police say the killers might have been wearing body armor and were most likely dressed in military-style clothing, and witnesses describe them as white -- which might explain why a law enforcement press conference this afternoon described this shooting as a possible act of domestic terrorism. Obviously, there are still plenty of questions that need to be answered but regardless of what those answers are one fact about this whole thing is unavoidable: would-be killers were able to get their hands on guns somewhere in this country and become actual killers. This shouldn't surprise anybody given that, again, we had 354 mass shootings in America before today's bloodbath in Southern California.
The official response to this shooting will be everything we've come to expect, meaning there will be no official response. Nothing will change. Almost three years ago to the day, 20 school children were gunned down and nobody did a fucking thing -- and there have been how many dozens of lives lost since? -- so it's all but guaranteed that as a society we'll once again bang our heads against the wall and maybe change our Facebook profile pics and that'll be it. Our leaders will do nothing. Changing the entire culture of gun worship and fetishism in this nation is just too hard. It's in our DNA like some congenital defect and because our Founding Fathers wrote guns into the Constitution, in their complete lack of imagination of the kind of weaponry that was to come, ending our abusive relationship with firepower is near impossible.
But still, some people at least want to try. They at least recognize the problem. And nowhere can you see clearly in which direction the chips fall in terms of acknowledging that we have a crisis on our hands than in the response to today's shooting from the various candidates for President of the United States. Most have now spoken up on Twitter. Take a look for yourself and see if you notice any difference between every one of the Democratic candidates and every one of the Republicans.
First, the Dems.
And now, the Republicans:
So there you have it. While you can't exactly put a cohesive plan into 140 characters, at the very least the Democrats don't treat this combination tragedy/travesty like it occurred in a vacuum and somehow couldn't have been prevented. They don't pretend this is some act of God. The Republicans on the other hand -- well, God is literally all they've got. They can't possibly say the word "gun" since that's been rendered strictly off-limits by their boosters and acolytes, so they've got pathetic bromides and nothing more. Worthless invocations of, and appeals to, a magical spirit that can't fix any part of this mess or provide any real comfort by helping to assure that another group of families don't have to bury their innocent loved ones.
There are another 29 days left in this exceptionally deadly American year. Plenty of time to see how well those thoughts and prayers work as a response to our ongoing gun crisis.