Yes, mass shootings can happen here. They’ll continue to happen because our solemn resolve to take action “so this never happens again” after every mass shooting has always been an empty promise.

What we do best, what we have a lot of experience in, is erecting temporary memorials of crosses, flowers and stuffed animals at the shooting site, mourning the victims, and extending our “thoughts and prayers” to the families of the victims. What we’re not so good at is tasking positive steps to prevent the next tragedy. As a result, mass shootings continue to happen almost daily, everywhere.

Time to wake up and deal with the realization that it can happen here. We’re shocked, appalled, sad, discouraged, and all those other emotions that hit us after a national tragedy like the killings in El Paso and Dayton last weekend. But we seem to get over it fast, not forgetting it, but not being overwhelmed with it because it’s a such a terrible thing to have to deal with daily.

So we go back to our routines, maybe overconfident that these terrible things are happening somewhere else. But we have soft targets here, too. Part of our summer fun in these parts is festivals, concerts, ball games — all involving large crowds with minimum attention to security. This will have to change.

No, we don’t want to arm ourselves, because in our present state of mind, in our suppressed state of rage against what’s happening to and in our nation, we’ll wind up with even more killings. But the system that has worked so well in the past, a national majority that is normally so peace-loving and law-abiding that we need a relatively small police force, seems to be a relic of a Mayberry past.

There are some things we can do. We first of all want to ensure that our schools are safe. Local schools are already taking some measures to prevent a tragedy, with resource officers and locked entrances. At a minimum, we should be demanding — not politely begging — that all schools have metal detectors. We also need those at the entrance of any large event.

It’s also time to introduce more of that Big Brother technology like facial recognition to keep track of potential shooters in a crowd. If we were guaranteed a safe experience wherever we went, we wouldn’t need that kind of intrusive measure. The days of not having to worry about something bad happening, or not being constantly on the alert, are long gone. We want to keep our families safe. Might be a choice between giving up some of our freedom, or our lives.

Some of the other changes are doable — restricting the availability of assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines, closer monitoring of those with grudges or mental health issues, and rooting out the haters on social media. A change that might take longer is persuading our president to act presidential and not condone, and in some cases encourage, racial discrimination. Can you believe we have a supposed national and world leader who engages in this kind of behavior?

It’s like a bad movie where you know someone is going to ride in and save us all from a daily dose of hate-filled insults and actions. In our case, no one is riding in, not even in sight — especially the weak-kneed politicians we send to Washington to represent us, to protect our interests, and to restore the basic decency of the highest office.

What they’re doing now is taking a break from their inaction in Congress — a break that might have made sense in the steamy summer days of Washington before air conditioning, but is particularly pathetic now with all the issues they’re supposed to be working on. Time to end that break.

Our gun violence is not confined to mass shooting, but is a daily occurrence. We’re desensitized to gun violence. It’s normalized and glorified in gory cop shows on TV, in movies, and in video games. We need to light a fire under our politicians, especially those in Washington whose main concern is getting re-elected, rather than banning assault rifles, requiring stricter requirements for gun ownership, and working to curb the rhetoric from our president that encourages hate, discrimination and more violence.

Whatever it takes, it has to be more effective than empty promises.

Bill Pritchard, who worked in community journalism for 30 years, writes from Frederick. Reach him at billpritchard.1@gmail.com.

(20) comments

DickD

Thank you, Bill for a very well written and detailed column. There is nothing more important than the safety of our children.

rikkitikkitavvi

Dick, for just another hate Trump article you are correct.

DickD

Rik,safety of our children is not hate, you and the other right wingers need to wake up to reality. We don't want our children shot!

rikkitikkitavvi

I didn't say it was Dick. Stop twisting my words. You and your left wingers need to wake up and Do. Something. That is your mantra no? Rent the biggest venue you can and hold a rally. March to the rally with everyone that thinks like you. Do not take public transportation or drive your car. MARCH! Let your voices be heard Instead of talking the talk Dick, walk the Walk.

Jeepers11md

when are people going to think? Guns don't kill ,people WE DO Think when they shoot some people they get free press, free food housing and cable TV and not have to work They need to bring back chain gangs and make them work for their keep in jails and prisons this would stop a lot there needs to be hard labor while serving time not free cable TV and free medical care to me he should be hung in the town square so others will think twice about doing this again

rikkitikkitavvi

Public hangings would work wonders for the decay of our society.

This is NOT true..."BOARD of CONTRIBUTORS | Bill Pritchard22 hrs ago." This column was NOT online Sunday morning at appx. 10AM.

jerseygrl42

Bill your comments about guns are well said and yes something has to be done w/o punishing those who obey the law; however your extreme comments about President Trump are way off base . He is NOT a racist and when he calls out those here Illegally( 22+ Million) who go on the commit felony crimes by the tens of thousands including 2,000 murders annually he has every right to do so and I would think you might be doing the same thing...maybe you've been reading too many of the comic books put out daily by the Post, Times and A/p...too bad!

public-redux

You used to say 4,000 murders annually. What happened?


FCPS-Principal

Tomorrow it will be 1,000. By Friday it'll be 100, Then it will jump to 5,000.


phydeaux994

How can you know what is published or reported by the Post, Times and A/p jerseygrl42, without reading them??? You don’t make no dang sense man!!! 😂

DickD

Most of us believe Trump is a racist.

FCPS-Principal

Most of the world does too.

Jeepers11md

your an idiot Trump is not raciest and he is the best thing to happen to this country in a long time respect the President or move out of the country and I will help you pack

olefool

You're wrong again jeepers, Dick is right; Trump is a racist and he is the worse president we've ever had, and if you don't like people expressing their free speech, just like you do, why don't you take your ridicules hate speech somewhere else, I'll help you pack. Trump deserves the same amount of respect from all of us you that you gave to President Barrack Obama, can I say none......

Thewheelone

so Jeepers, this guy who you demand we respect tweeted a baseless accusation that Bill Clinton had something to do with the death of Jeffry Epstein. The man is delusional and a drama king, unfit for the office. See I did that without calling you any names, do you think you could do that instead of calling someone an idiot?

DickD

Sounds just like a Trump comment. But thank you for the offer, I like where I live and plan on staying to vote against Trump and anyone that supports him.

rikkitikkitavvi

Your opinion dick 64 million people disagree.

olefool

Verify your numbers rik, No way there's 64 million republican voters in the USA. You must be counting the Russians that voted too??? (LOL)

FCPS-Principal

Actually his comments about the so-called president are quite mild. So mild in fact, they are misleading, bordering on untruthful.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, insights and experiences, not personal attacks. Ad hominen criticisms are not allowed. Focus on ideas instead.
TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
No trolls. Off-topic comments and comments that bait others are not allowed.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
Say it once. No repeat or repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.