There was another school shooting yesterday and 10 people are dead. The emergency response was well-orchestrated, and the media coverage has become routine.
Liberals say that the shooter was mentally ill and that we need real gun control. Conservatives say that the shooter was evil and that we need more "good guys with guns to stop the bad guys with guns."
Regardless of the familiar rhetoric, the facts are indisputable: there have been more mass shootings in America in 2015 than there have been days in the year, and we have lost three times the amount of people to gun violence alone in 2015 than we have in all terrorist attacks since 1970.
We know this, and we acknowledge that it is true, but we allow it to become just another fact of life. It is the price we pay for "our freedom."
Here's the thing, though. We know what happens when we allow nearly unfettered access to guns in America. We know what it is like to first feel terror and shock over mass murder, to vow never to forget the way we felt and the lives we lost, and later for it to become routine. We even know what it's like to live with the festering knowledge that none of our children are safe when they go to the movies, to the mall, or even to school. There as many guns in America as there are people, and as our rates of gun ownership climb, gun violence does, too.
What we do not know is what it is like to live in a country with common sense gun control and access to quality mental health care. We have never tried it, and we have no idea what would happen if we did. We have preconceived notions and doomsday predictions, but other countries have solved these problems and made their communities safer –– and we have never even tried.
America has a crisis of gun violence and a lack of mental health care, and it's time that all of us stop acting out our tired old roles and start demanding something new. This isn't the Wild West. We don't have to be victims. We have the power to demand that change be enacted, and we have the right to a government that values people more than guns. And those changes are not going to happen until we demand, loudly and unflinchingly, that they must. Until then, mass shootings will remain as American as apple pie.