Aaron Salter Jr., 55, was on duty at the security job that supplemented his retirement income. Ruth Whitfield, 86, was buying groceries. Celestine Chaney, 65, stopped in for strawberries for the shortcake she and her sister were eager to enjoy.
But their plans went awry Saturday afternoon. Salter’s work shift ended sooner than he expected. Whitfield didn’t make it through her grocery list. And thoughts of strawberry shortcake evaporated in a flash for Chaney.
The three were slaughtered along with seven other people at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y. Just like the 20 students, all 6 and 7 years old, and six employees who were massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012. Just like the 60 people who were gunned down at a music festival in Las Vegas in 2017.
Too few of our leaders seem to be giving much thought to how we are supposed to guard against tragedies like the one on Saturday and the relentless carnage guns are causing across our nation.
If only our government officials were as interested in these individuals as were the political leaders who have obsessed over University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas and her decision to compete for the Quakers or NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his decision to kneel during the national anthem.
Of course, it is easier for politicians to talk about transgender athletes and to look for ways to score cheap political points. It takes time, and it opens a politician up to potential criticism, to do the difficult work of finding ways to reduce gun violence.
It is more difficult to muster the political courage to explore possible changes in laws that now allow anyone to assemble enough weaponry, body armor and high-capacity ammo magazines to outfit an army platoon.
While politicians solemnly offer their thoughts and prayers, these officials prefer to talk about the sanctity of the Second Amendment’s “right to bear arms” than explain how unfettered access to weapons of war squares with the “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” promise our founding fathers laid out in the Declaration of Independence. Read more