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And again. And still

By Leonard Pitts Jr., Tribune Content Agency on

And again.

And still.

Nine people shot dead in Dayton, 13 hours after 22 shot dead in El Paso, six days after three shot dead in Gilroy. And tears and disbelief and funeral preparations, candlelight vigils and a search for meaning, and talking heads on cable news and T-shirts and hashtags touting resilience in the face of pain: "Dayton Strong," "El Paso Strong," "Gilroy Strong."

And again.

And still.

And people asking "Why?" and Republican officials trotting out explanations noteworthy mainly for their uselessness. They blame mental illness, Colin Kaepernick, Barack Obama, video games, drag queens, gay marriage, TV zombies, immigrants and recreational marijuana. Everything except the gun, everything except the fact that this is a country where the angry and disaffected can buy weapons of mass destruction more easily and with less regulation than you could buy a car.

 

Which suggests a cognitive bankruptcy that defies overstatement. Because while Kaepernick and Obama may be singularly American, this is hardly the only country where people play video games. It is not the only country where they watch zombies on television, suffer mental illness or use pot. It's not even the only country where citizens keep and bear arms. But it is the only country where mass murder is routine. The only one.

And again.

And still.

And it is not just that public responses to this American carnage feel rote and ritualized. It is also -- for many of us, at least -- that our inner responses feel much the same. There is, isn't there, an all-too-familiar numbness, a shopworn feeling of helplessness, of what can I do to stop it, what can I do, what can I do? And of hearing the answer whisper up from the subtext of Republican rationalization.

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