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Opinion | Shots fired. We do not care

Joey Kennedy



By Joey Kennedy
Alabama Political Reporter

Well, it’s happened again. And soon, we’ll be saying: “Well, it’s happened again.”

And not long after that: “Well, it’s happened again.”

We do not learn. We do not act. We do not care enough to do something constructive about the gun culture in this cruel nation.

Multiple deaths and injuries from the Valentine’s Day massacre at a high school in Broward County, Florida.

It’s not something we haven’t seen before. Indeed, it’s something we see too often. Just this year alone, about once every few days. School shootings are not a rarity anymore. They are the new normal. They are common.

The people who could do something – our elected officials – are bought and owned by the National Rifle Association and misguided people who believe the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms means no law restricting guns can be a law.


So we do not care — at least enough to do something constructive about the gun culture in this cruel nation.

We don’t care, at least enough, that a deranged person can walk into a school and shoot children. We didn’t care enough at Columbine. We didn’t care enough at Sandy Hook. And we won’t care enough at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and many others.

How many others? Too many others. One other is too many.

This is the time for prayers, many NRA-owned politicians will tell us, not the time for a gun discussion. We’ve heard it before, and we’ll hear it now. And we’ll hear it again, when it happens again today or tomorrow or next week or next month.

We do not care, at least enough to do something constructive about the deadly gun culture in this deadly nation.

What can we do? Well, we can allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to at least do studies on gun violence. But Congress won’t permit tax dollars to be spent on such studies.

We can allow more thorough background checks on gun purchasers, but Congress won’t pass those laws.

We can invest in our state’s and nation’s mental health systems, but that’ll cost money.

Opioid abuse is a national health emergency.

Killing children in their schools doesn’t rank.

Wednesday’s school shooting in Florida is the 18th this year. Hell, before this story is published, there could be a 19th. Or 20th.

That’s this year. We’re in mid-February.

What’s wrong with us?

We do not care, at least enough to start talking about what we might can do.

Yeah, we can make the NRA the bad guys and, for the most part, they are. But the politicians who are owned by them are worse. Because they allow themselves to be owned. From presidents to state representatives, the gun lobby has a gun pointed at their heads. Do what we say, or we’ll kill you. If you vote for any gun restriction, we’ll kill you.

We’ll kill you.

So, instead, people who can get guns so easily kill our children. And our friends. And our parents, and our brothers and our sisters. They kill. And they’ll keep killing.

Because we do not care, at least enough to start talking.

That mother who lost her son in Colorado cares. That dad who knows his first-grader bled out at Sandy Hook cares. Those parents yesterday in Florida, they care.

But as a nation:

We. Do. Not. Care.

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column every week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]