Recently, a mentally disturbed young man took an AK-47 and 500 bullets into a Georgia grade school, intent on a massacre. Only soothing talk from a compassionate school employee diverted him and persuaded him to surrender to police SWAT teams. Nobody was killed. Thank heaven. America narrowly escaped another ghastly gun nightmare.
Back in the 1980s, after cyanide-laced Tylenol capsules killed seven Americans, the nation rushed to mandate tamper-proof seals on medicines. But a thousand times more gun murders cannot make Republican politicians protect Americans from the gun menace.
"As everyone knows by now," Los Angeles Times writer Paul Whitefield wrote last week, "nothing, absolutely nothing, will be done about gun violence in this country, at least not by this Congress. The National Rifle Association and the conservative representatives and senators it owns have made sure of that. Remember the great background check loophole fiasco?"
He referred to the crusade by West Virginia's Sen. Joe Manchin to expand background checks for gun purchases, to keep weapons away from criminals and psychotics. Right-wingers in Congress, in bed with the NRA, stymied Manchin's noble effort.
The L.A. Times commentary continued:
"Seven people die from bad Tylenol, and just like that: tamper-proof packaging. But 20 little kids were massacred in Newtown. And 12 people were shot and killed in Aurora, Colo. And 33 people were mowed down at Virginia Tech," producing no safety reforms at all.
Horrifying gun massacres mar America. Leaders do nothing -- then people wait for the next slaughter. That's reality in a nation saturated with millions of murder instruments, easily available to any crackpot or thug. As a result, America's gun killing rate is vastly worse than the rates in other modern democracies.
Some places, such as St. Louis, want to create "gun courts" to handle thousands of pistol crimes -- just as West Virginia and other states now have drug courts to cope with the dope menace.Mark your calendar. The Washington Navy Yard massacre occurred on Sept. 16. Try to guess how long it will be until the next one.