The tragic irony

    If I had been sufficiently motivated on Friday morning to weigh in on America’s latest Wild West bloodbath, I surely would have written something like this:So here we go again, we all know the drill by now. Politicians of all stripes offer their “thoughts” and “prayers” to the victims’ families. And cable television will rerun the same video clips umpteen times, fill the airways with talking ranters, and thus leave the impression that nothing is happening in America or overseas, probably for the next week or so…before we settle back into our routines, until the next massacre provides a temporary jolt.But that’s what I wrote back in April 2007, after someone shot up Virginia Tech and killed 33. Sound familiar? Rinse and repeat.Seriously, what is there to say, in the aftermath of Aurora (or in the aftermath of the next massacre), that would be any different? Nothing is going to change. Dying a random death in the midst of random slaughter, courtesy of a well-armed wacko, is merely an occupational hazard in the land of the free.Our alleged leaders have nothing to say, either. President Obama, who at one time voiced support for sensibly stricter gun laws, is now so cowed by the NRA that all he can offer, by way of counsel, is “prayer and reflection.” Mitt Romney, who at one time signed a Massachusetts law banning the sale of assault weapons – Mitt, 1994: “These guns are not made for recreation or self-defense. They are instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people” – is beholden to the gun-love lobby, and thus merely offers his “thoughts and prayers.” What worthless twaddle.If the past is repeated (as it surely will be), we’ll talk for another week or so about the obvious feasibility of making it just a wee bit tougher for misfits to arm themselves better than the cops. We’ll again lament the statistical truth that our national gun-related death rate is roughly 16 times higher than the combined rate of 25 other civilized countries. We’ll bemoan the news that the Aurora shooter bought a rapid-fire high-capacity “drum magazine” that would have been illegal under the provisions of a bill that Congress refused to pass last year; and that he bought an AR-15 assault weapon that used to be illegal, back when the federal assault weapons ban was in effect (Congress allowed it to expire in 2004); and that he bought 6000 rounds of ammunition via the Internet – no questions asked, no background checks, no reporting requirements – because it’s a hallmark of red-blooded freedom to lock and load with the same efficiency that you or I might enjoy while surfing Amazon for headphones.And by next week, after the power imbalance in Washington has fully reasserted itself (the NRA spent $2.9 million on lobbying in 2011; the gun control groups spent $240,000), and after the politicians make it abundantly clear that they will do nothing, and after the “gun rights” talking heads have ceased asserting that any and all attempts to lessen the odds of future slaughter are tantamount to hating freedom, we will then commence the process of forgetting. Just as we have forgotten the mass shootings at that hair salon in Seal Beach, California, and at the community center in Binghamton, New York; and in that Pittsburgh neighborhood where a nut job with a private arsenal killed three SWAT cops . . .What, you don’t remember those? I rest my case.On Meet The Press yesterday, former New York and Los Angeles police chief Bill Bratton said that, in the typical aftermath of mass shootings, “the outrage that is expressed against the perpetrator and the act is not then reflected (by a desire) to do something about the instruments that are used to kill so many…The American population is following the political leadership – which is missing in action on this issue. Isn’t that the tragic irony of all this?”True that, chief.——-  In my Sunday newspaper column, I traced the eerie parallels that link the 2012 and 2004 presidential races.——-Follow me on Twitter, @dickpolman1

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