Just Another Day In The U.S.A.
Mourn fast, America. The San Bernardino massacre will be all but forgotten within a few days, maybe even before you read this. (I can only type so fast.)
It will be supplanted by tomorrow's shooting, which will be overshadowed by the one the day after that, which will be eclipsed by the one after that.
Massacres, it seems, are the new American norm.
So much so, in fact, that the BBC opened its coverage of the San Bernardino massacre this way: "Just another day in the United States of America, another day of gunfire, panic and fear."
Yup. Sounds like us. You disagree? You shouldn't. I'm actually underselling the problem, according to the Mass Shooting Tracker on reddit. By its tally there were 355 mass shootings in the U.S. – which they define as four or more people, including the gunman, killed or injured by gunfire – during the first 336 days of the year.
That's more than one a day. Impressive. Say what you want about the U.S. of A, but whatever we do, we do it well. Even the evil stuff. Go us.
You would think such a stunning number, in and of itself, would prompt wholesale outrage, which in turn would produce changes – God, at least tweaks - to our Wild West gun laws, which allowed terrorists Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, to amass a truly stunning 7,000 rounds of ammunition for their assault rifles, 9mm handguns and .22-caliber rifles.
But it won't. Nor will the San Bernardino shooting. Why would it? If the literal execution of 20 grade-schoolers and six adults by a deranged man wielding his mother's arsenal doesn't move us to change anything, the mere murder of 14 county health department holiday party-goers in California certainly isn't going to do it.
In fact, we've seamlessly followed the usual emotional script on this one. Externally, we've expressed our shock and horror. But internally, in the secret place where we hide our truths, our collective reaction is more like "Meh, we've seen worse."
The truth is we're used to slaughter. We've accepted the fact that every day or so people going about their lives are going to die horrific, military-style deaths at the hands of jihadists, disenfranchised teens or Mel, the bread truck driver who simply had a bad day at work and is cheesed off about it.
We've come to accept the fact that any time we're out in public – at the mall, at the movies, at a holiday party with co-workers – we may end up on the 5 o'clock news. Everyone secretly checks the exits and mentally rehearses what they'd do.
We've even come to accept the fact that our schools are prime targets. What kid or teacher hasn't been schooled on shooter-in-the-building protocol?
As I said before, it's our new norm. We accept it. We don't fight back. We change nothing. We can't. We mustn't. Guns – glorious guns - are far too important.
Just another day in the United States of America.