Few things speak to how fundamentally broken the nation is than our tolerance for enraged gunmen regularly hunting down people in places like stores, churches, schools and even movie theaters.
Combined with politicians and zealots profusely and openly lying and propagating dangerous and malevolent disinformation and propaganda, America rivals fascist Europe of the 1930s in its scope and breadth of depravity.
Once hugely proud and protective of American freedoms, the nation has now ceded any sense of the word to a minority of our nation that refuses to see reason when it comes to controlling epidemic gun violence and the open support of racism and xenophobia.
Just days after hundreds of millions of Americans were sent reeling by the gruesome facts surrounding the terrorist slaughter of Black people in Buffalo, the usual suspects are trotting out their equally usual distractions and deceits to perpetuate what they see as a net gain: fearful and confused Americans increasingly eager to blame the “others.”
Few know better than residents from Colorado — and especially Aurora, Littleton and Boulder — how critical it is to prevent the shootings that tore gaping holes in our communities.
Years and years after Columbine and the Aurora theater shooting, we firmly understand how complicated the problem of gun violence and mass shootings are, and how complicated the solutions will be.
Just providing more and better mental health care isn’t enough.
Just ensuring so-called “red flag” laws are better used won’t be enough.
Just working with kids and pulling them back from drowning in violent games and media isn’t enough.
Just ignoring rather than elevating raucous racists, bigots and psychologically-infirm political stars won’t end the violence.
Just ending ghastly immunity for gun manufactures and the industry, and holding them to the same standards as we do opioid makers, won’t end the mass killings.
Just banning the ownership and use of military-style firearms won’t keep racist terrorists from finding a way to assassinate minority targets.
Just prohibiting the use of concealed weapons and public display of firearms won’t be enough.
Just creating a nationwide ban on high-capacity magazines won’t stop the bloodshed.
Just keeping people with guns from donning bullet-resistant body armor won’t stop more gun shooting deaths.
Just making illegal the creation and possession of so-called “ghost guns” won’t end youth gun violence.
Just creating a national, real-time database of people flagged against gun possession won’t stop the shootings.
Just creating real, universal healthcare that allows effective intervention in the lives of psychologically-troubled people won’t stop school shootings.
We must do all of those things, and we must do them with fervor and passion like we never have before.
We know that gun buybacks really do get people to give up their guns. Aurora City Councilmember Curtis Gardner, a Republican, has helped lead the community through three buyback events, doing real work toward preventing murders or suicides.
We know these things work, because they work in other modern, free and democratic nations. We know most Americans want them to work, because we don’t want to live in fear anymore of being gunned down anywhere, but especially when we’re just living the most unavoidable parts of our lives.
We know in Aurora that racism and bigotry can ebb when people openly work, live, play and go to school with others from all races, cultures and backgrounds.
We know here and in communities like Aurora that pushing back hard and regularly against those who seek to blame “others” — or make themselves out to be, as white supremacists, victims of a multicultural community — are nothing more than pathetic and dangerously fearful.
Our subjugation to gun violence and the bullies who wield it and tolerate it, cannot be the price we must pay to live in the United States.
We can’t wish it away, pray it away or offer any effective thoughts. We tried. We can’t let a minority of Americans hiding behind their political party force the vast majority of people to live in fear or wallow in their malevolent lies and delusion.
Only in the U.S. are we guaranteed the power to make meaningful changes in our lives by electing leaders who will do it.
If you truly are done with living in a nation that assents to living in constant fear of domestic terrorists, vote for people who really want to end it badly enough to do the things above that will make it stop.