In the aftermath of the terrible shooting in a synagogue in Pittsburgh this past Saturday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said, “These senseless acts of violence are not who we are as Americans.”
We agree with Gov. Tom Wolf .
While a majority of Americans still find these senseless acts abhorrent, the fact remains that there are more mass shootings in this country than in all of the rest of the world combined. Yes, there should be sensible gun control legislation to limit the number of guns, the sales of high-powered weaponry, and the easy availability of guns to those with criminal records and a history of mental illness, along with other laws that would not impinge on the Second Amendment.
However, even the most-stringent gun control laws will only go so far in reducing incidents of mass shootings in America. That’s because the bigotry and hatred that exists among some of our fellow citizens is so ingrained — and has been for a long time — that the call for stricter gun control laws represents a simplistic solution to a complex problem.
The guy in Florida who sent the pipe bombs to Democratic office holders and other citizens exhibits a degree of mental illness and hatred that — we are sorry to say — is endemic among a growing segment of our citizenry.
We’ll leave it to the sociologists and others to explain why there have been more and more of incidents similar to this in recent years. The economic dislocation of our middle class no doubt has fueled the rise of the hatred in the hearts of some Americans.
For those of us who came of age during the civil rights movement, the expansion of reproductive and other rights for women, and equality for LGBTQ persons, these past few years have been among the saddest time in our lives. We always had believed that America would become a better place for all of our citizens. Instead, we seem to be circling the proverbial drain in a downward spiral of hatred and prejudice.