I am frustrated and angry. The most recent spasm of gun violence at a garlic festival in rural Gilroy, California, a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, and an entertainment district in Dayton, Ohio reminds us of many unpleasant facts about America:
* No region or population density is immune from the threat of angry men carrying assault rifles with extended magazines designed to cause maximum casualties;
* No genre of public accommodation is immune either;
* Shooters who intend to die in a hail of bullets cannot usually be stopped by adding more security guards or magnetometers or CCTV cameras;
* The weapons used in most of the worst incidents were purchased legally;
* Many victims still initially mistake gunfire for fireworks or something falling on the floor, which wastes time that might otherwise be used to get out of harm’s way.
This morning, the President offered his thoughts about ways in which America could address its unique and worsening problem. I am skeptical about some of his proposed solutions.
While I’m sure the United States could do more to help people suffering from mental illness, there is no indication any of the recent shooters were mentally ill. Socially maladjusted and radicalized, but that seems different than mentally ill. Likewise, I’ve seen no relationship between either the most deadly or most recent active shooters and violent video games, so I wouldn’t get hung up on gamers right now. As for “red flag laws,” other than a manifesto posted minutes before the shooting in El Paso, the shooters did nothing to reveal their deadly agendas until they started firing, so that seems like a miss.
I believe that leaves the United States’ easy access to military-grade firearms and ammunition as an obvious starting point for discussion. Here are my thoughts on that issue as it applies to entertainment venues and other public accommodations, from an interview I gave earlier today to Good Morning Arizona.
Here is the Event Safety Alliance’s statement on last weekend’s Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting, which now seems almost quaint in its focus on that one incident.
I don’t mean to make Adelman on Venues a political soapbox. I hope you don’t take it that way. To the contrary, I think that freedom from fear of being shot when one goes into public places is a basic right on which everyone should insist, regardless of political stripe or party affiliation.