Tom Clyde: Another round of thoughts and prayers |

Tom Clyde: Another round of thoughts and prayers

Tom Clyde

Park Record columnist Tom Clyde.

The grocery store in Buffalo. A church in Laguna Woods. A school in Uvalde. It’s been a banner week for mass shootings. We’ve been through so many of these that horrific as any one of them is alone, and terrible when combined, we are used to it. Almost numbed. From “Breaking News” all the way through to “thoughts and prayers,” we’ve memorized the script. After “thoughts and prayers” comes “this is unacceptable and we need to do something.” That is followed by crickets. Nothing changes, nothing happens, nothing is even brought up for discussion. And so we are reset for the next time it happens, certain that it will happen again, coming to a movie theater, stadium or mall near you.

Ask a Congressman what can be done to keep guns designed for mass killing out of the hands of the deranged, and he will courageously turn the discussion to corn prices. It’s time for Congress to admit that they can’t get the job done. It’s all too much for them. They have fundamentally failed to govern on this and almost every other issue. If they don’t have the decency to resign en masse, every last one of them, then it’s more than time for the voters to throw their useless butts out in November. There is no constitutional right to shoot up a school, church, or grocery store. Protecting the public from this kind of danger is the fundamental reason government exists.

It’s not certain that any of the numerous proposals that have been floated will solve the problem. Laws against robbing banks have not eliminated bank robberies. The patchwork of inconsistent state and local gun regulations haven’t been very effective. The issue is as complicated as the country itself—rural Montana is different from Chicago. But it’s absolutely certain that if we do nothing, nothing will change. Tune in again next week, and the week after that, for another episode. Even if a background check law only prevents a couple of mass shootings (and since they were prevented, we can’t know what didn’t happen), isn’t it worth a try? If it doesn’t work, make some changes. Try something, do something.

Thoughts and prayers aren’t working.

I drove into town one morning this week, and got behind the school bus. As it stopped frequently to pick up kids, it was just crushing. Parents were standing on the shoulder of the road in the cold spring morning, putting their children on the bus, and the kids laughing and playing and excited to see their friends. It was the most normal of scenes. I can only imagine what was going on in the minds of the parents as they waved to their children. For all the controversy we had over covid masks in school, is it time to start sending our kindergarteners off in Kevlar vests? The odds of something happening are very low, but the stakes are so terribly high.

In the meantime, let’s serve up another useless round of thoughts and prayers. And vote the bastards out.

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