By Alex Frandsen, editorial columnist
There is no way this column could be focused on anything but the tragedy in Orlando.
When 49 people are murdered and 53 more are injured at an LGBTQA+ club for nothing more than existing at the wrong place at the wrong time, all other topics and problems and discussions fall to the wayside. This was the deadliest shooting in United States history, and not writing about it would be almost disrespectful.
But what is there to say?
Yes, I could talk about gun control. I could talk about how there are more places to buy a gun in this country than there are grocery stores. I could talk about how someone can buy an assault rifle with only the weakest of background checks (and sometimes not even that). But that angle has been covered already. People wrote and talked about it exhaustively after the Virginia Tech shooting, where 32 people were killed.
I could talk about how mass shootings are no excuse for xenophobia and bigotry, but that storyline was surely covered after the San Bernardino attack, where 14 people were killed.
I could talk about new security measures and standards that might be put in place for public gathering spaces, but we all heard takes on that after the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., where 12 people were killed.
I could even just talk about the inconceivable loss of innocent life: About how mothers lost their children, about how families were irreparably shattered, about how the victims will never get the chance to watch another sunset or hold another hand. But everyone already talked about that after Sandy Hook, where 20 children and 6 adults were killed.
No, unfortunately, there is nothing left to say. Any pleading for common sense on gun control would either fail to be heard for the millionth time or be read by someone who nods their head in somber agreement.
This is our penance. Either we change something drastically in the wake of the worst terror attack since 9/11, or we live with the fact that the death of dozens is no longer a surprising event. Either we look across party lines and realize that this is the only country where this happens regularly, or we make templates for publications to use in the aftermath of the next disaster: “[INSERT NUMBER OF DEAD HERE] shot in horrific attack on [INSERT LOCATION], country mourns.”
There is the old saying about how insanity means doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the outcome to change. It seems applicable, until you realize the truth – we don’t expect things to change. We have just become numb (or callous, in the case of NRA-backed politicians) to the repeated outcome. We cherish the second amendment of the Constitution, but forget how everyone is entitled to protection of their life by the government according to the Declaration of Independence. And each day we take no action against guns, we negate that inalienable right for the next person whose life is snatched from them in the upcoming mass shooting.
When that fated next tragedy happens, fewer people than ever will exclaim their shock on social media. Instead, they will shake their heads knowingly. That might be the greatest tragedy of all.