Cartoon by Monte Wolverton
America cannot go on like this. Guns are the problem.
Capital Gazette: America cannot go on like this.
This nation cannot survive under the existential threat of mass shootings at work, at schools, at music festivals or movie theaters. With every new explosion of homicidal mania, our collective soul weakens a bit and what it means to be American sours.
We are less than we were with every death. Our moral compass is less true. Our values are cheapened.
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The murder of at least 12 people Friday at a municipal government complex in Virginia Beach is the latest symptom of the sickness that grips our society.
Annapolis and this news organization have firsthand experience with this kind of violence. Five people were murdered in the Capital Gazette newsroom on June 28, and the consequences of that shooting continue to play out in this community.
Wendi Winters, Rebecca Smith, Gerald Fischman, John McNamara and Rob Hiaasen are a testament to the truth of our national crisis.
There will be tears, vigils, speeches and calls for action. Days will seem tragic because someone loved is gone. Someone loved was killed because they were going about their lives with the illusion that no one wanted them dead.
Echoes will come. With every new mass shooting, hundreds of survivors, families and friends live again their own trauma borne out of the tragedies that came before.
Those who were there will feel anew their loss.
Those who survived, by luck or through the actions of police, will feel the guilt that comes from living while others died. The nightmares will return.
Suggestions that this is a mental illness will emanate from those who choose to ignore the source of the problem. Surely only a crazy person would do this? But those who say this seldom offer concrete support for greater mental health resources.
It is an excuse to ignore the problem.
Sick with hatred is not a mental illness. Sick with an obsession with guns is not a mental illness.
Evil is not an insanity defense.
There will be incredibly stupid suggestions that the shooting would have been less deadly if only the victims had their own guns.
Crackpots will suggest handing out more guns is the way to end shootings in schools or workplaces or malls. Crackpot states will make it the law.
If the only solution to mass shootings is for everyone to walk around armed, the death toll from gun violence will end the search for answers. Anyone who disagrees can be shot.
Guns are the problem, not the solution. This will only end when we recognize that.
Most days, there will be silence.
So today, as another community begins the long, painful search for an exit from the horror of a mass shooting we can only offer words. Today, while our attention is focused again on death by a man with a gun we can say this:
To the community of Virginia Beach, we share your pain. You are not alone.
To the families of those who died, our tears are for you.
To police and other first responders who put their own lives at risk to save others, thank you again.
To the journalists who must cover the endless tide of death by twos, fours, eights, 16s, 32s and on — search for solutions within your community. Ask how we can make Virginia Beach the last mass shooting in America.
Our hearts break for all of you. We know what comes next.