America’s gun violence shifted Wednesday to San Bernardino, Calif., where at least 14 people were killed and at least 17 wounded.
Amid the chaos were the horrifying and familiar aspects of a mass assault by the latest “active shooter”: bodies on gurneys, innocents weeping under desks at the rattle of gunfire, desperate emails for survival, SWAT teams massed at a war zone of civilian casualties. All the familiar terror was back, as a father received a text from his daughter: “People shot. In the office waiting for cops. Pray for us.”
There will be post-mortems and an official search for a “motive” for this latest gun atrocity, as if something explicable had happened. The ultimate question grows with each new scene of carnage: Are these atrocities truly beyond the power of government and its politicians to stop? That tragically has been the case as political leaders offer little more than platitudes after each shootout, while the nation is left to numbly anticipate the next killing spree.
The carnage in San Bernardino happened even as the nation was trying to come to grips with last week’s massacre in Colorado Springs,where three lives were taken and nine people wounded.
Yet, even as grief fills communities randomly victimized by mass shootings, the sales of weapons grow ever higher. Holiday shoppers set a record for Black Friday gun sales last week. They left the Federal Bureau of Investigation processing 185,345 firearm background checks, the most ever in a single day, topping the Black Friday gun buying binge after the shooting massacre of 26 people at a school in Newtown, Conn., three years ago.