ECLECTIC RANT: Escalating domestic terrorism**

Ralph E. Stone
Friday August 09, 2019 - 03:53:00 PM

I am saddened and outraged by the latest mass shootings. That’s three in eight days. On July 28, a 19-year-old shooter killed 3 — including a 6-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl — and wounded 12 others at the Gilroy, California, Garlic Festival; then on on August 3, another gunman killed 22 and wounded 24 others at a Walmart store in El Paso,Texas; and then on August 4, another gunman killed nine and wounded several others in Dayton, Ohio. An assault-type weapon was used in the first two shootings. 

This makes 251 mass shootings in 216 days, a record Americans should be ashamed of. And it is just not just mass shootings we should be concerned about. As Senator and presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) remarked after the May 19, 2019, Virginia Beach mass shootings, “It’s not just mass shootings,” she said, adding that each day in America, gun violence occurs “on sidewalks and playgrounds and people’s backyards. It’s happening family by family across the country. And it doesn’t get the same headlines. And that is wrong.” 

In addition to the usual thoughts and prayers, the U.S. Senate should at least begin addressing gun violence in the U.S. by taking up two gun control bills passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. The first calls for universal background checks on all firearms purchases. The second would extend the review period for a background check from three to ten days. But I doubt Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (D-KY) will bring any gun control legislation to a vote. 

In addition, it is about time for Congress to pass the assault weapon ban introduced by Senator Feinstein (the 2019 version). As the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held in Tardy v. Hogan, certain kinds of rifles, including assault rifles, are “weapons of war,” meaning they are not covered under the Second Amendment for the purpose of self-defense. The weapon used by the killer in the Gilroy shooting was purchased legally by him in Nevada. Such weapons are banned in California, demonstrating that a federal ban is more effective than state-by-state bans. 

However, I fear that after all the sound and fury is over, the cycle of killings, hand wringing, and mourning will continue ad infinitum. Why because we have a president who has not condemned domestic terrorism, but indulged it. Sure racism and and anti-immigrant sentiment has been with us for decades but today we have a president who has normalized it. 

Unfortunately, gun violence has become as American as baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie. 

++ This is an updated, expanded version of my August 2, 2019 article, Gilroy Garlic Festival Shooting.