New thinking needed on violence, killings

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Lame excuses, status quo no longer acceptable answers for routine massacres

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EDITORIALS

It’s another day in America and another day where the lives of multiple citizens were taken in senseless violence.

Saturday’s massacre by a white supremacist at an El Paso shopping center and the downtown Dayton, Ohio killings later that night took the lives of 32 innocent Americans. These were brothers, sisters, parents, children, loved ones killed for no other reason than a fake grievance culture that fears anything different than itself.

Something has to change and we are looking to our leaders for answers. Unfortunately, those in the ruling party go back to tired and unrealistic excuses such as “it must be those video games” or “we need to deal with mental illness,” while simultaneously cutting funding for any such treatment.

All other countries have video games and mental illness. No other countries have the epidemic of gun violence we have here. Only the U.S. gives the overly aggressive and mentally ill persons almost unfettered access to powerful weapons of war.

We’re living in an area where being raised with firearms is a given. Most everyone on this newspaper staff owns a firearm of some sort, whether for sport or as a family heirloom.

As noted by our Schuetzenfest coverage, shooting clubs are a deep community tradition that spans back to the 1800s arrival of this town’s German ancestors.

Everyone is familiar with the phrase, “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.” The best ideas for moderate gun-related controls are needed.

We don’t side with either extreme of “get rid of all guns” or “put more guns in the hands of citizens.” (Sorry, but if more guns were the answer, the U.S. — with its 400 million guns and 330 million people — would be the safest country in the world.)

We need ideas from people who enjoy sport shooting, but are just as sick of hearing of these near daily massacres on American soil. As with most issues, there IS room for middle ground if we can avoid political extremes.

We also need to clamp down on the growing threat of white supremacist ideology. It needs to go back under its rock. It needs kickback and public shaming. It needs to be deleted from social media forums where this hatred spreads.

Unfortunately, these people feel emboldened today and, again, most of our GOP party leaders stand by silently.

It is unacceptable to continue the status quo. It is unacceptable to let Saturday’s tragedies move into the vast heap of forgotten tragedies.

If you are a Christian reading this, we echo Congressman Will Hurd’s address to an El Paso crowd about the “greatest commandment” which is “love the Lord with all your heart, and mind, and soul, but also love your neighbor as yourself.”

El Paso is a loving community. (This editor lived there for five years and has family there.) It is time for love to rise above the hate that is growing like invasive weeds.

We appreciate local citizens who gathered Monday night at the courthouse lawn for a vigil to grieve victims and pray for a better future.

But as the Austin American-Statesman newspaper asked on a front-page editorial, “We’re better than this. Aren’t we?” – K.E.C.