Politics, Moderate



Why pray for comfort after mass shootings when we could act instead?

By Rex Huppke, Tribune Content Agency on

And, if form holds, time will pass and the Las Vegas shooting -- the now-worst mass shooting in American history -- will become an entry on Wikipedia and an event we remember when its anniversary comes around, at least until something worse takes its place.

President Donald Trump said: "We pray for the entire nation to find unity and peace, and we pray for the day when evil is banished and the innocent are safe from hatred and from fear."

Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy released a statement saying: "These are times when we turn to God trying to understand how such inhuman acts can happen."

The world has never found a way to banish evil, and I think we have some clues as to how such inhuman acts can happen.

According to data collected by the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive, in the first nine months of this year, there have been 271 mass shootings, meaning four or more people shot in a single event, not including the shooter; 11,572 gun deaths; and 2,971 children or teenagers shot.

Tighter gun control, on its own, is not the answer. Anyone who carries a bag of guns into a casino hotel room and opens fire on a crowd of concertgoers clearly has a mental health issue that has gone untreated.

We're never going to find a magnet big enough to pull all the guns in the country up, and we'll never be able to make it impossible for a lunatic to get hold of guns and take innocent lives.

But that's no reason to fall back on prayers and simply hope for an explanation from God. There are steps we can take, on guns and on mental health, and we talk and we talk and we scream and we scream and nothing ever gets done.

America is unique in its gun violence problem. And surely Americans have the brains and common sense to sensibly address that problem.

Why we can't -- or won't -- is something I imagine even God doesn't quite understand.


(Rex Huppke is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune and a noted hypocrisy enthusiast. You can email him at rhuppke@tribune.com or follow him on Twitter at @RexHuppke.)



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