Maria Gutzeit | Mass Shootings Fallout: As I Write This, I Wonder…

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As I write this, I unfortunately wonder where our next mass shooting will be. I wonder how many more kids and parents, journalists, police and coworkers will die in our country. I wonder what people think about the U.S. having travel warnings issued against us by other first world nations because of unpredictable gun violence.

I wonder why, if cyberspace can be programmed to show me ads for shoes after browsing for shoes on a completely different website, it can’t be programmed to detect violent threats and cross reference across platforms. Why do business people working with certain chemicals get fingerprinted, background checked and put in a database, and people going with kids on field trips get fingerprinted and background checked to protect against potential risk, yet not everyone buying a gun does? 

Why do we have building codes, food safety, consumer protections and other measures that are not 100% guarantees, but balance freedom with public welfare, yet we don’t seem to care about other things to improve public welfare?

I wonder why some people think life is on social media and why we can’t just discuss things in person. 

I wonder why some don’t go outside and see all the people heading to work, going shopping or attending events and just join them. 

Business, science, education, sports, fashion, whatever – the real world is out there and doesn’t give a hoot about what was on Twitter today. 

Why are we OK with the addictive unchecked proliferation of drivel and waste of human capital happening right before our eyes?

I wonder why, if mental health is indeed a problem, we don’t fund it more. 

Why do we let some kids stay in abusive homes? Why does getting a weapon bear less stigma than getting therapy? What if, besides free vision screening and dental care, kids in schools got mental health screening? Are red-flag laws, where loved ones can report those who have weapons and show signs of hurting others going to pan out? Are they going to be foolproof, if they pass? 

Why are certain things dismissed if “it won’t work all the time” but plenty of other things are passed in hopes of making a difference?

I wonder why any potential legislation is viewed as a leap toward “taking our guns.” Requiring a driver’s license doesn’t mean we don’t want people to have cars. Having a background check or a license doesn’t mean you can’t get what you want. 

I wonder why we should get everything we want. What if I wanted a tank, or a grenade, or a vial of ebola virus? That’s ridiculous, of course, because there are limits. 

Shouldn’t there be limits on some things to help out society in general? I wonder why we have speed limits. Some people can drive really fast and not crash. Some people break the law. But speed limits generally benefit us. I would think safe gun ownership has some reasonable tests, to keep weapons secure from children and emotionally unstable people, and tracing things that could be stolen or sold to criminals. I wonder why we can’t talk about that.

I wonder how much longer we can keep retreating to statistics, saying things are “unlikely” and won’t affect us, when every single parent who drops their kid off at school knows what could happen and has pictured their kids’ last moments of life, scared and huddled in a corner, watching their favorite teacher get shot, then their friends, before they die. 

We wonder how the high school and college kids will get on after seeing their friends shot, and we know that some will commit suicide. We wonder what the workers nearing retirement or just newly married thought when a shooter came to their workplace or holiday party. We wonder if going to a concert, or a movie theater, or Walmart has just become a bad idea. We wonder if we are going crazy.

We look for the exits and participate in active shooter drills, and hire security guards for events, yet know we are probably still out of luck if a person with an automatic weapon comes toward us. 

I wonder why we believe this is the best we can do, and I wonder if we are all just a little guilty the next time a 6-year old-dies. 

I wonder why we have to wonder.

Maria Gutzeit is a chemical engineer, business owner, elected official, and mom living in Santa Clarita. “Democratic Voices” appears Tuesday and rotates among several local Democrats.

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