It is a sign of our times that mass shootings often don’t make the front page of the newspaper anymore. It’s almost impossible to have a discussion about it, without someone dismissing the entire issue with the eloquent:
“If they had been armed, none of this would have happened.”
For such folks, I often think, the Second Amendment is not enough; we need to become the United Martial States of America.
End of story. Some even (from the safety of crouching over their keyboards) have taken to blaming the victims of mass shootings, as if they should all have behaved like characters from a movie, where such actions always result in the miscreant being brought down - sometimes after a really rousing fist fight.
Those who have been in combat claim some special knowledge of such events, all the while glossing over the fact that you are in a roomful of panicked human beings, all scrambling for cover. And you are unarmed as well, and probably - what? Twenty, thirty feet from the shooter?
Still in all, I am left with one question:
What qualifies as Page One news, and what doesn’t?
I wrote this week about the shootings in Casselberry, Florida, where a man came in and opened fire, killing three innocent women and seriously wounding another.
The reason for the attack?
Later that day shooter Bradford Baumet was scheduled for a legal hearing, after the manager of the salon, Marcia Santiago, had filed an injunction for domestic abuse against him. Two hours before the court hearing that was to deal with the domestic violence injunction, Baumet proved once and for all that he wasn’t a good guy.
After the shootings, he went to a friend’s home, where he committed suicide.
Some may cheer when this happens, on the grounds that it saves the state the cost of a trial, but I always want the shooter to face a court of justice. Suicide is the coward’s way out for these men.
So, it’s just another in a long line of stories about public shootings. Except . . .
This seems almost the perfect storm, should someone care to cover it on the wider issues.
Death in the workplace
And the victims were all women.
As far as I can tell, this may be the only mass shooting - at least in recent American history - where all the victims have been women. Which should at least have gotten it a little more mention than the section of the paper (on page two) I found it in, following the articles, “3 arrested in killing of five at Denver bar” and “Dust storm closes stretch of I-35.”
Aside from Ms. Santiago, who is in serious condition, Baumet shot and killed an employee and a customer. At the time of this writing, nothing has been released about the third victim.
All women - in their workplace, plus one woman who simply came in to take advantage of their services.
The main target was the victim of domestic abuse.
I cringe whenever I read of a shooting like this in the United States, a land where the old insane “blame the victim” mentality has been brought over from the category of sexual crimes into just being murdered because you:
Went to the movies. Went to church, went to the mall, upset another driver, you made an appointment to get your hair done, or you simply came to work.
The response of some is simply to throw more guns at the problem and hope it will go away (yeah, I’ll get mail about that one). But there is a small, cynical part of me, as well, wondering just what you have to do to get on Page One?
Who do you have to kill? How many? Make sure you throw some guys in there, as well?
Facebook and the over-confidence of the American Liberal
I have been among that number who been cautioning folks for months that President Obama may still lose the election. I have been taken to task for that belief, mainly by folks who spend most of their time debating politics on Facebook.
You know Facebook, where we all argue with the same people, day in, day out, never actually changing any minds. And tomorrow, rather than actually doing something political in the material world, we will gird our loins for another day of debate, often making the very same points (to the very same people) we made yesterday. I’m not sure how many folks have actually had their political perspectives changed by engaging in FB chat.
And, of course, like any schoolyard, the insults will begin to flow after a while. For all the good such “debates” actually do, the participants may as well be playing Farmville.
Sometimes I have to wonder if Facebook will be the downfall of liberalism in this country.
Quote of the Day
“I believe that there should be a very much heavier progressive tax on very large incomes, a tax which should increase in a very marked fashion for the gigantic incomes.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt