weather icon Clear

Pulp Nonfiction: Gun violence threatens USA death spiral

Another week, another series of senseless gun crimes in America, one particularly gruesome one a little too close to home.

I’ve harped on this issue before, right here in these very pages. Not long ago I wrote a column that merely listed the names of all the victims of some of the more bloody mass shootings — Newtown, Aurora, Virginia Tech.

The victims numbered in the double digits in those cases. But just because there weren’t more mass casualties in Santa Barbara a few weeks ago, or more dead high school students in Troutdale, Ore., on Tuesday, or a Las Vegas Walmart full of discounts and dead bodies on Sunday, doesn’t make the latest fit of high-profile gun violence any less horrific.

America needs to wake up!

Seventy-four school shootings have occurred since Newtown, the 2012 mass killing that took the precious lives of 20 first-graders. Think about that for a second — 74 at American schools in two years.

The bloodletting has not abated. The fetishization of killing in America has not been staunched.

It is an abomination of epic proportions and our political leaders are apparently ill-equipped to handle it. As a country, as a nation of free people, as a first-world community, we are apparently not up to the task. We are failing our country, our children and ourselves.

I partly blame the cultural and political toe-hold of right-wing extremism in America. That coupled by the apparent failure of parents, schools, medical professionals and law enforcement to keep mentally handicapped people from accessing the torrent of weapons in this country is to blame for most of this as well.

On Tuesday, a 15-year-old high school freshman in Oregon walked into his school with an assault rifle, a handgun and multiple magazines with bullets. He was prepared to kill a lot of people. He killed a classmate in the gym as students were going into their first period and then he killed himself. It was the day before the last day of school. Victim Emilio Hoffman, 14, was going to become a sophomore in the fall. Instead, he’s a corpse, prepped for burial by a devastated family.

In Las Vegas on Sunday, two whack-jobs, one a twice-convicted felon, walked up to two Metro cops eating lunch and assassinated them, laying upon their dead bodies a revolutionary war flag and a political manifesto with a swastika on it. The two then walked to a nearby Walmart where they killed a man named Joseph Wilcox, a would-be hero turned corpse because instead of running for cover he pulled his own concealed weapon on one of the cop-killers to no avail.

The dead police officers, Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo, will have their names etched in stone memorials, but that will offer little comfort to their families, to their children, who will now grow up victims of violence themselves.

Before all this there was Santa Barbara. A mentally ill college student purchased three handguns and 400 rounds of ammo, and despite his parents’ multiple warnings and contact with law enforcement, was able to kill six people before shooting himself. And before that, also last week, there was Seattle, where a mentally deranged man off his meds walked onto a small college campus and killed one student and injured another. A journal found in the suspect’s truck included passages praising the Virginia Tech shooter and Columbine killers.

Mass killing as cultural phenomenon threatens to send America into a death spiral.

Emergency gun control legislation should be passed immediately. Gun and ammo sales in this country should be temporarily halted. A national dialogue must commence today between families of violence victims, leaders and gun lobbyists and their clients.

It’s not so much that I advocate banning anything. As I’ve said many times, there needs to be a new framework of control in place to prevent crazy people from accessing weapons. Because what’s in place today is clearly not working. And for all you gun rights folks who advocate civil war to protect your right to buy an AR-15 and hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammo, you are part of the problem. Your selfishness, your affliction, your addiction is killing your fellow countrymen in droves every single day.

You are no patriot. You are a bacterial infection in the heart of America. You need to come to the table as an adult, not some child crying to protect play time with toys of death and devastation.

Furthermore, your obstinence on this issue invites tyranny. Your inability to compromise will be the undoing of the right to bear arms in this country. Because at some point, enough will be enough and blood will follow blood. And where will all your rights be then?

Let’s have an adult discussion. Let’s work to institute new national gun ownership protocols that include mandatory training for would-be owners, mandatory mental health screenings, mandatory insurance similar to car insurance, and whatever smart solutions we can collectively agree upon that will help solve this national horror.

Wake up America! Now, before it’s too late.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
DAN SCHINHOFEN: Bill of Rights?

Back in January when the “novel coronavirus” was finally making the news, after the debacle of impeachment was over, I was very interested as I watched the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) shut down a city with 35 million residents. My first reaction was, “This could never happen in America as we have a Bill of Rights.” Boy was I wrong.

DAN SCHINHOFEN: Lessons learned

This past year has seen a lot of changes and most not for the better. As I sit here thinking it over, here are some of the things I have learned.

TIM BURKE: Possible second mandated shutdown would be disastrous

The recent rapid increase in COVID-19 positives is threatening to close businesses and halt family holiday gatherings temporarily. The post-election decrease in COVID-19 positives that some theorized would take place due to the election did not materialize. The exact opposite has happened.

STEVE SEBELIUS: 2020 election mandate? Compromise

Democrats long hoped for a supermajority in the Nevada Legislature; instead, the mixed election results will force both sides to work together to find consensus to fix vexing problems.

DAN SCHINHOFEN: More division coming up

President “projected” Biden stated that he will unite our country. Well, that’s good because his party spent the last four years dividing us. From the end of the election in 2016, the Democrats have refused to accept the results, but rather spent the last four years calling Trump illegitimate, a fraud, and of course tried to impeach him many times. The one time they actually went through with it, they knew it would fail in the Senate, but to meddle in the next election, they did it anyway, During Obama’s administration, there were many times some Republicans wanted to impeach Obama, but with the Senate being held by Harry Reid, they knew it would only be a show and cause division, so they did not.

As Mental Health Comes out of the Shadows, So Should Insurance Coverage to Increase Access to Care

Anyone who has ever tried to navigate the crazy task of selecting an individual health insurance policy knows the fundamental problem is figuring out exactly what you’re buying. Then, traversing the dizzying maze of HMOs, doctors, hospitals, co-pays, deductibles, allowable procedures, and coverage eligibility only increases the frustration.


The chaos surrounding the presidential election bears a semblance to the “hurry-up” offense in the NFL to avoid changing the outcome of a play.