Security officers guard the scene of a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, Aug. 5, 2019. (Photo/JTA-Jahi Chikwendiu-The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Security officers guard the scene of a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, Aug. 5, 2019. (Photo/JTA-Jahi Chikwendiu-The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Cowardly politicians allow domestic terrorism to flourish

It would be tempting to hope that this time is different. With back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton last weekend, barely a week after the murders at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, maybe now America’s leaders will finally do something about gun violence motivated by racism and hate.

But they won’t.

When it comes to guns, political cowardice in Washington knows no bounds. We learned that lesson in 2012 after the killing of 20 small children in Newtown, Connecticut, when the Senate blocked efforts to prevent future slaughters by people with twisted minds and easy access to guns.

Let’s not pretend that 34 deaths in El Paso, Dayton and Gilroy will spur the Senate to pass bills banning assault weapons, instituting universal background checks or restricting large-capacity magazines. Or that Donald Trump would sign them if they ever came to his desk. None of these commonsense measures will see the light of day, despite majority support among the American people. As long as NRA lapdogs remain in office, we are stuck with slaughter.

There was at least one noticeable shift in response this week when the FBI announced it would investigate the El Paso and Gilroy shootings as domestic terrorism. It’s about time.

Look at the El Paso suspect, for example. Hours before he committed his crime, police say he posted a manifesto that, in cool and rational language, outlined his ideology of hate.

When it comes to guns, political cowardice in Washington knows no bounds.

Some people rush to blame mental illness and violent video games for the epidemic of mass shootings. While mental illness can play a role in some violent acts, this diagnosis is comically wrongheaded. And young men all over the world play violent video games, yet they do not have the mass shooting problems we do.

What’s different about us? Simply put, we refuse to do anything about the proliferation of guns, including the unconscionably easy access to weapons of war.

Even if mental illness were the chief culprit, the politicians pointing fingers are the same people supporting the administration’s cuts to mental health programs and its efforts to kill the Affordable Care Act altogether. The hypocrisy stinks to high heaven.

We have weighed in on this subject too many times after other mass killings, and here we are again. After the Pittsburgh synagogue murders last year, the subject became personal for Jews, but it’s just as personal for African Americans (see the church killings in Charleston), Hispanics (see El Paso and Gilroy) and all Americans (see the Mandalay Bay slaughter in Las Vegas).

Enough. We are sick of pathetic Second Amendment arguments that sanctify outdated 18th-century nonsense as if it were holy writ. If your political leaders keep themselves leashed to the gun lobby, vote them out. And then vote in lawmakers with the courage to stand up and do something about this stain on our nation. The terror must stop.

J. Editorial Board

The J. Editorial Board pens weekly editorials as the voice of J.