In the past 24 hours, we've learned of two mass shotings over in the USA. I've written about gun control before, here. That was a year ago, but my views haven't changed.
It's tempting for us to pass comment on how bad that is. We can use all the fancy language we like, but that won't stop it happening again next time.
I really think it is time we moved on from "what a shame" to "what do we do about it". Rather than lamenting what happened, and crossing our fingers until the next time, we need to change the debate.
I follow a couple of blogs these days. One of them is a guy, he seems quite switched-on. He also happens to be American. He's written something about the shootings and it has been informative to read both his post and some of the comments. I assume that most of the people who follow this chap are also American, so certainly they will see the problem from far more closely than I do.
It's not really surprising that without exception, the blogger and his commenters are all appalled, but even from the USA there are lots of "what a pity" comments. One of the things that raised my eyebrows though was this guy's distinction between these automatic "assault rifle"-type weapons, and, say, a handgun. He feels that assault rifles are unacceptable (no argument here) but that handguns are. I'd just go the whole hog and say that none of them are. Perhaps a reflection of living in a society without guns? Certainly, in the circles in which I move...
But there was a definite feeling that carrying a gun for personal protection was okay. I shall not judge.
One of the commenters also said something memorable, despondent, really, saying that nothing would change because Washington, D.C. was controlled by money. I very much agree with that, and would broadly echo his sentiment that the whole system needs to change. But again, though, I think we should not only be thinking that, but thinking how it needs to change.
It is a very sad situation. I'm prepared to think that many Americans would want to see gun control in some way or other, but probably not so far as I would go. But I think we also need to be constructive here rather than cynical, and be prepared to think about what we need to change, how we bring change about.