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Wanted: Leaders to tackle mass shooting epidemic

After the recent horror of multiple mass shootings — at a garlic festival in California; a Walmart in El Paso, Texas; and, finally, a popular nightlife neighborhood of Dayton, Ohio — I went to social media and posed two questions: “What is wrong with America? Why does this keep happening?” The responses were wildly different.

“Pundits will make this political, each blaming the other side’s ideology. But something bigger is happening here. It’s called evil.”

“I don’t think there’s enough being done to address the signals of mental illness.”

“I really think these violent video games play a large part. We are desensitizing our youth at a very young age and teaching them to shoot people.”

“It’s the parents that fail in raising their kids.”

Some readers blamed the news media for exaggerated reporting of the country’s mindset.

“News is very biased. They mention color and race before character or motive.” Another citizen agreed, writing, “They take a story and just keep making things worse. All they ever spew out is hate and racism.”

Several readers called for more and tougher gun laws including a return to a ban on automatic weapons. A woman wrote in from Ljubljana, Slovenia, to say, “Such things almost never happen in Europe. We also have crazies, angry and frustrated people, we also have violent video games, but people here don’t have guns and have not grown up in a gun culture. I’m not saying you have to get rid of guns, because I know you never will, but it’s guns!!”

Naturally, there were those who disagreed. “Blaming guns for these tragedies makes as much sense as blaming cars for drunk driving tragedies. Angry, damaged people bent on violence will always find a way to cause harm — with or without guns. Timothy McVey used fertilizer.”

There is merit to all these responses. There is no one simple reason that can explain why (mostly) men pick up guns and kill groups of innocent people. Yet many believe the bulk of the blame lies in the rhetoric coming from the White House.

“Electing a sane president would help,” one respondent wrote to me. Another opined, “The answer to your question is complex but it starts with the impeachment of Trump!”

I believe blaming one person, namely, President Trump, is insulting our collective intelligence. Mass shootings began years before this president’s tenure, and sadly, they may continue for decades. That said, I’m embarrassed by many things this president says and tweets. I’d like to see much more civility and humility coming from him. But also from those 2020 presidential candidates who exploit these tragic situations by spewing simplistic anti-Trump demagoguery. They should be ashamed. Naming a scapegoat never solves a problem. Finding solutions does.

So how about it? Instead of name-calling, finger-pointing and political posturing, isn’t there one leader in this country who can rally a truly bipartisan group to identify common triggers that cause shooters to go on deadly rampages? Is there no one — either an elected official or a concerned citizen — who will step forward to say, “Let’s find solutions instead of bickering!”? Several billionaire Americans have dedicated themselves to environmental organizations, art museums or helping eradicate disease in other countries. Wouldn’t it be great if one would lead the way to further society’s understanding of mass shooters? Maybe we could avoid some of the carnage.

Americans are fearful and sad that mass shootings occur with such frightening regularity. Now they are also angry that nothing meaningful has been done to get to the root causes of these massacres. We’re better than this. Aren’t we?

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To find out more about Diane Dimond,

isit her website at www.dianedimond.com.