By: Keith Kappes
Carter County Times
Last week’s slaughter of 19 school kids and two teachers in Texas makes me wonder anew if any place in this country is safe from gun violence.
A few years ago, Americans would have never dreamed that we would at risk of gunfire as we sat in a worship service, as we shopped in our neighborhood grocery store, as we enjoyed an outdoor concert, or as our kids attended school.
The most disturbing news article I’ve read in the aftermath of the latest Texas shooting was the report by a professor at Princeton University that our feelings of sadness and anger at mass shootings usually are gone from the public’s consciousness in about four days.
His findings were based on a 10-year, daily survey of Americans by the Gallup Poll on reactions to horrific news. If those conclusions are accurate, we should better understand why the gun lobby’s favorite Republican members of Congress quickly go into reflection and deflection modes in the aftermath of mass gun violence.
The “reflection” strategy includes assurances that the victims and their families are being remembered in thoughts and prayers. The photo of Sen. Ted Cruz hugging the Uvalde sheriff at a prayer vigil was a prime example.
But the “deflection” approach is the most frustrating because it steers attention away from needed legislation while that four-day window quietly closes, and our priorities go elsewhere.
For example, the NRA operatives and their political henchmen quickly revived the calls for better mental health services and improved school security. That becomes meaningless, of course, when an exterior door is propped open.
And a more distracting element has emerged with troubling questions about police delays in breaching the classroom where the crazed gunman was murdering those terrified youngsters and their teachers.
The lack of law enforcement coordination or courage or whatever happened in Uvalde stains the honor of every courageous police officer who has been killed or wounded in the line of duty.
The U. S. Army trained me in the use of an M-14 rifle in 1964. I realized then and now that such assault rifles were designed to kill human beings.
Even today, I cannot believe that most law-abiding gun owners in this country are opposed to keeping such weapons away from dangerous individuals.