Dear President Trump,
Seems we all want answers to why Stephen Paddock did what he did. Since he was a regular white guy on the surface with no criminal or mental health history, how can we explain his actions? Although I want to know too, I think this quest for a motive is a distraction and is not likely to be at all helpful in preventing another such attack or reducing gun violence. But we need that motive so we can absolve ourselves. As Roxanne Gay pointed out today in her NYT editorial, he carried out this devastating and hateful crime with means he obtained completely legally. I contend this makes people deeply uneasy since many Americans have guns and devices capable of similar carnage they obtained completely legally. We have to know Paddock’s motive because it allows us to draw a bright white line in the sand separating us from him. We want this answer, even though at some level, we know there’s no litmus test to predict or detect those with Paddock-like-motives. It doesn’t matter that knowing his motive will be less than useless, that it will provide only a stupid, false sense of security and smug satisfaction separating us from him. We need to know because it will allow us to wash our hands of the matter and walk away with our consciences light and carefree.
Really? Ms. Gay detailed out all sorts of ways we regulate the living day lights out of pretty much everything else to better assure public safety and to protect us from evil-doers. She missed one of my personal favorites though — the anti-tampering covers on over-the-counter-medications and products like orange juice and yogurt. Many have been recast as freshness extenders but they were started after someone inserted poison into Tylenol bottles and then someone else figured out there was tons of money to be made in convincing the American public it would be far safer if everything were sealed up tight and next to impossible to open. But for guns, nope, not so much. Even though hundreds of thousands more have been killed or injured by bullets than poison-laced commercial products, any move anyone tries to make to improve gun safety is met with threats of both barrels being unloaded in their face. What the hell is wrong with us?
May we pull our heads out and prioritize sensible safety.
May we be content with a sensible interpretation of the Second Amendment.
May we prioritize health over NRA money and ratings.
May we get a grip and grow up.