It’s Sunday, August 4, 2019.
On this day 55 years ago, the bodies of civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Cheney were found at a construction site near Philadelphia, Miss.
They had been murdered by a conspiracy of Klansmen and law enforcement officials bothered by their investigation of a church burning.
Five years ago, President Barack Obama – who, coincidentally, was born on this day 58 years ago – posthumously awarded Schwerner, Goodman and Cheney the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Two points: 1. I’d bet $1,000 Trump has no idea who they are. 2. White supremacy ain’t anything new.
You need to look around for details of the Dayton shooting, in which nine people died. (Here’s a link to the Dayton Daily News site: https://www.daytondailynews.com)
Well, first, the news cycle is still absorbing the 20 people murdered in El Paso yesterday. (And here’s the El Paso Times site: https://www.elpasotimes.com)
Second, it was a late night shooting – much like when the Mets play in California – and didn’t make the Sunday paper.
Third, the information about the Dayton shooting remains sketchy. The alleged shooter was just identified by police a few minutes ago. And it’s not yet clear what his motives were, while we’re pretty sure the subhuman who committed the El Paso atrocity was doing his part for white supremacy and his hero in the White House.
Finally, there’s this sobering fact: On Wikipedia’s list of the top 25 mass shootings in American history, Dayton falls just short. You need to kill 10 people other than yourself to make the cut. El Paso, with its 20 lives snuffed out, managed to grab sole possession of eighth place.
Two mass shootings within 24 hours seems new. I can’t remember anything like that off the top of my head.
But it’s hard to remember them all of these mass shootings. Or to remember all the details of even the most prominent ones.
For example, yesterday’s shooting in El Paso missed seventh place by one fatality. That would be the murder of 21 people at a McDonald’s in San Ysidro, Calif., in 1984 – the shooting I always confuse with the 1979 San Diego schoolyard murders of two adults that inspired the Boomtown Rats’ song “I Don’t Like Mondays.”
By the way, only two dead doesn’t qualify by some measures as a mass killing. You need a minimum of four to make the list.
The McDonald’s murders grabbed the top spot among mass murders until 1991, when the incident that now occupies sixth place occurred. That took place in Killeen, Texas, at a Luby’s Cafeteria, and left 23 people dead.
You don’t remember who did those murders or why, do you? I mean, I had to look them up. The guy who committed the McDonald’s shootings was mad that mental health workers didn’t return his calls. The guy who committed the Luby’s killings thought all women were vipers.
Maybe it’s the 30 or so years between the incidents.
Or maybe, just maybe, it’s the fact that there’s one mass shooting in this country every single goddamn day. White supremacy is just the latest trend – a frightening new motherlode of rationale for the gun nuts.
And, like the Onion’s powerful reposting of the same story every time there’s a mass shooting – with the headline “No Way to Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Happens Regularly” – here’s my reminder of what I say after someone naively states that maybe this will lead to sensible gun control laws:
It has to do with the mass murder in fourth place.
This country watched as 20 elementary schoolchildren – six- and seven-year-olds – and six adults who tried to protect them died in a shooting in Connecticut 11 days before Christmas.
And the United States Congress did nothing.
So here we are a day or so after two mass murders – one that makes the Top 25 list and one that just missed but which together result in 29 deaths of people who likely had no inkling that yesterday was their last day of life.
And yet, I assume this moment will pass without action.
Because of the morons who continue to obstruct what should be a no-freakin’-brainer.
They blame video games. Or violent TV and movies. Or mental health issues.
They say the country should unify and that gun control advocates shouldn’t politicize these tragedies – in fact, they’ve falsely accused Kamala Harris of trying to raise campaign funds from the shootings when the link on her site is to support gun control advocates.
The morons want people to pray for the souls lost. They want people to support the first responders.
Don’t retweet them. Don’t summarize them.
I don’t give a damn about the affected sorrow of Kellyanne Conway or Kevin McCarthy or John Cornyn or Greg Abbott or Mike DeWine or “Moscow Mitch” McConnell or even Donald Trump.
Unless they say something about how it’s time to act on gun control – at the very least, to act on the two bills passed by the House earlier this year – what they have to say is worthless.
They have no moral standing on this issue. It’s a waste of electrons.
You and I have made our position clear. We’ve elected people who understand the problem.
But until McConnell and Cornyn and Trump and the rest of the NRA whores are thrown out of office or – and this would take a miracle – they see reason, it’s ridiculous to listen to or, worse, repeat anything they have to say after these or the next mass murders.
As their supposed hero, Nancy Reagan, said, “Just say no.” Until they say yes.