Local View: Here’s what should be said after mass shootings – Duluth News Tribune

Second Amendment

The day after 11 people were fatally shot and nine others injured in a senseless attack at a dance studio in Monterey Park, California, federal and local officials gathered on an outdoor stage for a thank-you fest.

One by one, speakers came to the podium to thank, for example, the L.A. County sheriff for his efficient and dignified handling of the tragedy. Police detectives in Monterey Park and Torrence, California, were also thanked for their quick work in finding the suspect, interviewing witnesses, searching the suspect’s house, and gathering evidence and weapons. Brandon Tsay, a worker at a second dance studio in Torrance, was thanked and rightfully hailed as a hero for disarming the suspect who had entered the studio, intent on more harm after the Monterey Park bloodbath. Gov. Gavin Newsome was thanked for offering his help and condolences. Hospitalized survivors were thanked by one official for the look she said she saw in their eyes that showed their will and determination to recover.

Even President Joe Biden was thanked for placing a call and pledging to do all he can.

As I listened and half expected that someone might be obtuse enough to thank the families of those who were killed for doing such a fine job of grieving, I wondered what words might actually be more helpful to those families — or to the rest of America, numb with hopelessness from relentless slaughter.

How cathartic and quite possibly transformational it might be if instead of reciting a litany of gratitude at press briefings, officials read off the names of those persons and institutions who made the massacre possible.

For example, from the chief of police we might hear: “Eleven people were murdered yesterday thanks to Carolyn D. Meadows and Wayne LaPierre, president and vice president of the NRA, for their lavishly paid political arm-twisting on behalf of gun manufacturers, to defeat any and all sensible gun regulations, and to ensure that yesterday’s homicidal maniac had easy access to the semi-automatic pistol of his dreams.”

From the mayor of Monterey Park: “We would be remiss if we did not mention that yesterday’s multiple murders, in addition to the 38 other mass shootings so far in the U.S. in 2023, would not have been possible without the help of Sens. Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Marco Rubio, Roy Blount, and Richard Burr, among other congressional Republicans. These men vigilantly obstruct common-sense gun legislation as a favor to the NRA, in return for blood money — I mean, ‘

campaign contributions

’ — ranging from $176,274 for Cruz up to $6,987,380 for Burr.”

Imagine from the L.A. County sheriff: “All our thoughts and prayers after yesterday’s atrocity won’t make a bit of difference if Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Barrett perpetuate the errant, grammatically contorted (read partisan) interpretation of the Second Amendment by continuing to expand the rights of individuals — unconnected to any militia — to purchase and carry weapons of war, as the justices are expected to do in the upcoming New York Rifle and Pistol Association vs. Bruen decision.”

From the California state representative of District 54, perhaps: “Tragically, our quiet village of Monterey Park has added an additional 11 gun deaths to the 40,000 suffered in America last year, a number that would never have been possible without sporting-goods chains stocking, advertising, and selling arrays of firearms, including AR-15s, for the profit of their CEOs and shareholders.”

From the California state senator of District 30: “Sadly, these mass shootings will continue occurring week after week in the United States, thanks to the more than 5 million members of the NRA, including many of you standing right in front of me. You soullessly refuse to put up with the paperwork, the wait times, or any other inconvenience posed by universal background checks, even if it means saving the life of someone’s 6-year-old child or 70-year-old grandmother.”

Had the California officials on Jan. 21 made such announcements, those they named no doubt would have issued the same tired statements condemning the “politicizing” of shootings, in their usual attempt to deflect blame for a national malady whose cause is nothing if not political.

Every country on earth has troubled individuals confronting poverty, racism, mental illness, and oppression. The U.S., however, is exceptional: It has the worst plague of gun violence because

Americans own 436 million guns

, more than any other nation, thanks to firearm manufacturers, distributors, and sellers — and to the NRA and its leaders, members, and political puppets in its back pocket.

Keeping the heat on these enablers can make a difference.

David McGrath is formerly of Hayward, is an emeritus professor of Native American literature at the College of DuPage in Illinois, and is an author and frequent contributor to the News Tribune Opinion page. He can be reached at profmcgrath2004@ yahoo.com.

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David McGrath

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