One month ago, the worst mass shooting in US history took place at a country music concert in Las Vegas. Fifty-eight people were killed and more than 500 people injured. Bill O'Reilly boiled the massacre down to six words: "This is the price of freedom." I hate to say it, but he is right. Sunday, just 34 days after Vegas, 26 people were gunned down and about 20 others were wounded during a church service in Texas. And here's what is really sick -- we won't be surprised when there's another mass shooting next month. Maybe it'll be your church, your mall, your concert or your movie theater. That's the price of freedom.
In America, we are free to stockpile weapons. We are free to order ammo online. We are free to outfit our guns with bump stocks, like the Vegas shooter did. This is the price we pay for freedom, alright. The freedom to not give a damn. Tweeting "prayers for the victims" does not equal giving a damn. Feeling bad for a day or two does not equal giving a damn. Changing your Facebook profile photo to support the victims does not equal giving a damn. Giving a damn requires us to commit to solving the problem. And the fact is, we have a serious problem in America with gun violence.
The statistics speak for themselves. A mass shooting is defined as an event where at least four people are shot. We now have one every day in America, if you adopt the broad definition used by the Gun Violence Archive. In fact, Vegas wasn't the only mass shooting on October 1, it was just the biggest. There was one outside the University of Kansas on the same day.
When we care, we solve problems.
The military cares, that's why the Air Force court-martialed the Texas shooter for assaulting his wife and child. But we give no damns about gun violence, which is why a "very deranged individual" as President Donald Trump put it, was able to buy an AR-556 rifle. The Texas governor said the gunman applied for a license to carry a gun but was denied by the state. Gov. Greg Abbott asks a key question: "So how was it that he was able to get a gun? By all the facts that we seem to know, he was not supposed to have access to a gun. So how did this happen?"
Congress doesn't care either. It's up to us to stop this public health crisis and unfortunately, we haven't reached the tipping point like we have with cancer and opioids.