Every time I write about mass shootings -- after Lafayette, and Charleston, and Umpqua, and Colorado Springs, and now San Bernardino -- I keep coming back to a profoundly sad quote from The Economist in the aftermath of the Charleston shooting. It captures just how immune the nation has become to major gun violence incidents, now 355 mass shootings just this year, and why we haven't done much about it.
The excerpt sums up the reality of our relationship to gun violence in the absence of any political will to address the problem (emphasis added):
The regularity of mass killings breeds familiarity. The rhythms of grief and outrage that accompany them become — for those not directly affected by tragedy — ritualised and then blend into the background noise. That normalisation makes it ever less likely that America's political system will groan into action to take steps to reduce their frequency or deadliness.
Those who live in America, or visit it, might do best to regard them the way one regards air pollution in China: an endemic local health hazard which, for deep-rooted cultural, social, economic and political reasons, the country is incapable of addressing.
This may, however, be a bit unfair. China seems to be making progress on pollution.
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