I'm guessing this was national news yesterday, but it was so so so local for me and my community: 6 people died in Seattle yesterday from gun violence. The cafe where the shooter shot 5 people (two dead on the scene) is 10 blocks from where I work. Another person was shot in the head downtown and died on the scene when she apparently tried to prevent the shooter from jacking her car -- about 10 blocks from where Mark works. The shooter was found and surrounded by the SWAT Team a mile or two away from where he dumped the car in West Seattle (which is my 'hood). He shot himself in the head. The shooter and two of the victims died later in the day at Harborview Medical Center where I used to work. The two men who were dead on the scene at the cafe were known and loved by people who I know and love.
I express all this not to highlight what a dangerous place I live and work in, because I don't think I do -- not really. None of these places are what would be considered by some to be those neighborhoods. What I want to express is that this really could happen to anyone -- not philosophically, but literally. For totally actually real. As a friend of mine said yesterday: "It's all 'us.' There is no 'them.'" Even the shooter. We are all us. Those neighborhoods are our neighborhoods; all of them. We live there, everywhere.
And yet, we choose as a nation to continue to make it easier to get a gun than to get adequate affordable healthcare (physical and mental). That's broken.
My parents have long maintained that locks aren't to keep thieves out, but to keep the rest of us from a moment of weakness. We'll never be able to stop those who are hell-bent to do harm. But to reduce easy, instant access to instruments of harm would go a ways to mitigating moments of impulse --- no matter what the root causes of those moments are (illness, grief, rage, etc.).