Who will the next victims be?


Bloomington Herald-Times

This time, it was a synagogue.

This time, the victims were older, the youngest 54 and the oldest 97.

Again this time, the gunman used an AR-15, a firearm that is not meant for sport, unless you consider killing people a sport.

Times before it was a country music concert in Las Vegas, a night club in Orlando, an African-American church in South Carolina and schools — so many schools, where the targets were younger, from elementary school age to teenagers in high school. Men with guns designed to kill a lot of people quickly ended lives simply because they had hate in their heart and access to the weapons to act on that hate.

In Pittsburgh on Oct. 27, the shooter did it out of hatred for Jews. He attacked a place of worship in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community just because, he told an officer, “I want to kill Jews.” They were no threat to him, the 97-year-old worshipper, the octogenarians, the 70-somethings and the others. Except in his sick mind.

The victims were targeted simply because of their faith.

In 2015, nine members of the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., were killed simply because of their race. Dylann Roof, who gunned them down in their place of worship, is a white supremacist who told authorities he had hoped to ignite a race war.

In 2016, a murderer slaughtered 49 people who were inside a nightclub that attracted gay members of the Orlando, Fla., community. It’s not clear in that case the victims were targeted because of their sexual orientation; it just turned out that way.

The horrific shootings last week shortened the news cycle of another story of hatred. In that one, a man sent pipe bombs to men and women simply because of their political views. The man who has been arrested in that case was a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump. The suspect had populated his social media messages with pro-Trump, anti-Democrat messages and seemingly wanted to blow up those with whom he disagreed.

For his part, President Trump, the inciter-in-chief, decried both the synagogue killings and the targeting of his political rivals. But he couldn’t do so without saying “if there was an armed guard inside the temple, they would have been able to stop him, maybe there would have been nobody killed, except for him, frankly.”

The “stop a bad guy with a gun with a good guy with a gun” rationale grows tiresome. Maybe it’s trotted out because of another despicable event, when a shooter with a semi-automatic rifle opened up on 24 Republicans practicing for a softball game. The GOP congressmen were being guarded by three police officers with guns, and they returned fire and likely helped save lives.

Is it reasonable to assign three guards to every two-dozen people?

Since that seems to be the best our lawmakers can do, the nation must ask:

Who will it be next time? How many will die? When will those in power have had enough?

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