College football teams opened pre-season practice this week, the Warriors signed Draymond Green to a four-year contract, and the Giants kept Madison Bumgarner.
But for some reason, I can’t muster much enthusiasm to write about any of that.
My thoughts keep straying to a garlic festival in Gilroy, California. A Walmart store in Southaven, Mississippi. A shopping mall in El Paso, Texas. The restaurant district in Dayton, Ohio.
Horrific mass shootings took place in each of those venues last week. Four mass shootings between July 28 and August 3. All over the country.
Just another week in the good ole' USA.
We've previously written about gun violence after massacres in schools, churches, concerts, nightclubs, work places, and movie theaters.
The story is always the same. It's just the locations that differ.
A loner, almost always a white male, someone who has been bullied, jilted or fired, or has a group he has targeted, gathers up as many guns and as much ammunition as he can lay his hands on and plots to kill a lot of people as quickly as possible.
This carnage happens here almost on a daily basis now. It doesn't happen anywhere else in the world.
Republicans blame mental illness or video games. But every country has mentally ill people and almost all have video games.
Yet there are some countries in the world that have fewer than 100 deaths a year due to guns. In America, we have 40,000. That's not a typo.
How can that happen, you ask?
Because of the easy access to guns. The easy access to guns in America turns a domestic argument into a homicide, a bout of depression into a suicide, and a noise in the night into an accidental shooting. It allows toddlers to stumble upon their parents' weapons and kill their siblings. It allows disturbed young white men to slaughter dozens of people in classrooms, synagogues, stores and theaters.
It also happens because of the culture of hate and fear that has been fostered by the racist bully in the White House. The guy who regularly attacks Muslims, blacks, and Latino immigrants. The guy who wants to build walls and send non-white people back to where they came from. The guy who laughs when people at his rallies suggest shooting immigrants.
It’s no accident that two of this week's killers posted anti-immigrant, white nationalist rants. One had a lovely photo on his Facebook page of guns spelling out the word “Trump.
This president talks about immigrant murderers, rapists and gangs infesting our country, when in fact, most of the terrorism occurring in America is being perpetrated by home grown white nationalists targeting specific religious or ethnic groups.
None of these mass shootings have been committed by immigrants coming across our southern border.
Sensible legislation would outlaw weapons of war, limit the number of bullets in magazines, require universal background checks, and close various loopholes that allow folks who shouldn't have guns to purchase them and transport them across state lines.
But instead of legislation, we get flags flown at half-mast. We get "thoughts and prayers." We get criticized for "politicizing a tragedy."
We also get sick to our stomach.
I've been debating and writing about gun control for most of my life. It's an issue that shakes you to your core. It's an issue that doesn’t go away because the cowards in Congress refuse to do anything. Even though 80% of Americans favor the sensible legislation outlined above. Even though more lives are senselessly taken with each passing day.
As a reporter named John Woodrow Cox tweeted yesterday, “we, as a country, have decided that the right to own a weapon of war is more important than protecting people from being slaughtered by them.” Think about that.
This year, some progress was made. Moms Demand and high school kids from Parkland were the driving force as pro-gun legislators were ousted from Congress and the NRA was crippled by corruption and defeats at the ballot box.
So much more could and should be done. The Democrat-controlled House has passed several gun control measures that even most NRA members support. But "Moscow Mitch" and the other pro-gun puppets in the Senate refuse to even bring them to the floor for a vote.
So we must continue to fight. To protest. To call out the cowards. And in November of 2020, elect a non-racist president and enough gun control advocates to get something done.
If not, we'll continue to have more Gilroys. More Southavens. More El Pasos. More Daytons. More “active shooter” drills in our classrooms.