Tragedy strikes America again

The occurrence of mass shootings has clearly become woven into the fabric of our society. With yet another shooting taking place earlier this week, it seems we have become accustomed and potentially numb to the violence guns generate.

How many victims this time? Thirteen people were killed and at least eight others were injured after a gunman opened fire at Washington Navy Yard on Monday morning.
The shooter has been identified as Aaron Alexis, a 34-year old contractor from Fort Worth, Texas. Alexis, a civilian contractor and military veteran, was killed during a gun battle with the police who responded to the attack.

Valerie Parlave, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington field office, said the shooter had “legitimate access to the Navy Yard.’’ However, Washington Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier said there is currently no known motive for the shootings.

Meanwhile, President Obama expressed his sympathy for the victims and their families of what he described as “yet another mass shooting.” He urged authorities to work together to determine the nature of the rampage.This shooting is the second time a military installation has been targeted during Obama’s presidency.

We’ve been in this same situation so many times before. Each time thinking this will be the tragedy that will finally bring forth action and change. Yet it didn’t happen after any of the spate of shootings that have taken place in recent years- in Virginia, in Colorado and in Connecticut.

According to a study released this year by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, we have averaged one mass shooting a month in this country since 2009. That comes down to 43 shootings in which more than four people were killed in the same incident in the past four years.

Though these calamities certainly initiated and reinforced a national call for stricter gun policies, that debate soon faded from the headlines and took a backseat in the nation’s agenda.

Many would like to argue that the lack of mental- health institutions, the proliferation of violent games and movies, or even the post-traumatic disorder that war and other traumas can generate, are all plausible explanations for these recurrent mass shootings. Nevertheless, the issue always comes back to this common factor: guns are readily available to any individual who wants to buy one.

With a culture where assault weapons have generated so much physical and emotional misfortune, can we really afford the luxury of deliberately ignoring the issue any further? One thing is clear, if guns weren’t easily accessible these expressions of hatred and anger would end in far less casualties and bloodshed.The necessary measures need to be taken to avoid calamities of this kind from repeating themselves.