A shocking weekend

As inured as Americans have become to the occasional mass shooting, this past week has been especially horrendous. Three mass shooting events in a week’s time, including two within 24 hours over the weekend.

The toll keeps growing — three killed at the Gilroy Garlic Festival on July 28; 22 killed on Saturday at a Wal-Mart near El Paso, Texas, and nine more in Dayton, Ohio, early Sunday morning.

Americans stand impotent against this kind of senseless slaughter, as politicians express their sorrow and offer condolences to the victims and their families and blame the massacres on mental illness, violence in video games, even the media’s reporting on racism and immigration, but never on the guns that are used in these attacks.

It is true that mental illness and instability can carry someone to the kind of attacks we have all come to abhor. Racism and white nationalism plays a part, as is evident in the anti-immigration manifesto posted by the El Paso shooting suspect before the event.

But guns play a role too. In the three events this past week, police intervention came quickly, especially in Dayton, where police say the shooter was shot about 30 seconds from the time he opened up.

But still, the shooters were able to fire deadly bursts. In Dayton, the shooter was able to kill nine people in the space of 30 seconds, spraying 41 bullets before being shot himself.

In all three massacres, the shooters used assault-style weapons, able to hold large capacity magazines and fire rapidly. They were all apparently purchased legally.

Why do our laws allow people to buy these rapid-fire, high capacity weapons designed for one thing only — to kill a lot of people in a short period of time? It is time for our government to take these weapons out of the hands of potential killers.

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