We're greeted by another gruesome mass killing this morning: this one the murder of five children by their dad, who then killed himself, in Washington state. This awful, shocking crime comes hard on the heels of a gunman "lying in wait" and killing three Pittsburgh police officers; a crazed man walking into a community center in New York state and killing 13; the shooting of four Oakland police officers; and, locally, the savage attack of a brother who killed two of his sisters and wounded another with a kitchen knife.
Are there reasons for this spate of deadly violence? The Christian Science Monitor considers whether the economic downturn might be a factor. Of course, those on my side of the political spectrum consider the proliferation and easy access to guns to be a significant factor. All of the crimes above, except the Milton tragedy, were carried out with firearms. It is far too easy in the United States to arm oneself like a small army.
While the disturbed young man in Milton was able to kill two of his siblings without a gun, it's unlikely that the third would have avoided death if the killer had a firearm, and it's likely he would have then opened up on others, including the responding police. Meanwhile, the man who opened fire on immigrants in Binghamton would not have ended as many lives had he been armed with just a kitchen knife.
Further, the recent violence pales in comparison to what is happening every day just over the border in Mexico. In the battle to reap the riches of America's narcotic addiction, the members of drug cartels are battling it out with law enforcement and each other with firearms made -- you guessed it -- in this country.
The US Constitution, laudable in many respects, has come up short with the Second Amendment. Or, should I say, America's leaders have consistently failed to galvanize the courage to adapt to the modern world on the issue of firearms.