I promise, next week I will find something unrelated to gun violence to write about.
But, I would no doubt be remiss if I didn't talk about the latest shooting to plague the American public after I spent last week's column discussing aspects of the Parkland protests. The attack on YouTube headquarters was significantly different but, in my mind, still an extension of the same problem. I believe there are certainly some common threads as well, mental health being one of them, but the weapon, the perpetrator and the target are all a bit outside what we've come to expect from the tragic situations.
It's befuddling. It's not just that a woman felt so slighted by the online video website she felt the need to draw and fire upon strangers in a courtyard. It's the lack of consistency on our part. When students are killed in a school, we say an armed guard could have prevented it. Yet, we are not quite so inspired to call for additional arms when it's the headquarters of an internet-based company. We're not so inspired when it's a nightclub, or a movie theater, or a church, or an office building. Instead, we talk about how the public can be better prepared to respond when it happens, how to best protect ourselves and call for help (as if a repeat occurrence is a set-in-stone fact of life). But we will say violence plays out within the walls of a school because it is a soft target in need of armed guards.
So I begin to question why other soft targets aren't the setting of senseless gun violence more often. We can post armed guards at schools, but there will always be a softer target, be it a grocery store, a gas station, a post office, or an actual Target (but it doesn't seem like that will be a concern for the Lakes Area anytime soon). Frankly, those with ill-will and evil intent will always choose the path of least resistance. Posting guards as a reactionary measure is only effective in deterring repeat attacks, not preventing future attacks. Someone will always be the at the bottom of the ladder, the kind easily reached by a lone angry woman with a pistol. The attacker's weapon wasn't the type of rapid-fire firearm we've come to expect, but it was just as capable of taking a human life. Thankfully, none of her targets were killed, but tragically she turned the gun on herself (remember, any loss of human life is tragic).
That being the case, as I've said before, we can't address the situation from only one angle — even if that angle is stricter gun control. I don't think any reasonable gun-control legislation would have prevented this attacker's use of a handgun. So, clearly, the situation can't be dealt with solely by banning bump-stocks, other accessories or certain types of weapons. Clearly, there will always be a target softer than the next. Clearly, tight gun control and magazine limits wouldn't have prevented her purchase of a handgun. Clearly, this woman was not of sound mind to carry a weapon. But, if we only patch one of the three holes in our boat, we will still sink. If anything, this latest attempt to use a gun for revenge should tell us the weapons aren't the only problem. Instead of posting guards on site after every tragic loss of life, we should give greater thought to why the public feels the need to use the constitutionally protected right to bear arms to end the constitutionally guaranteed right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.