A matter of priorities

Wednesday , October 04, 2017 - 5:00 AM2 comments

DON PORTER, special to the Standard-Examiner

Now, finally, we have identified the limit of America’s – and Americans’ – ability to get things done.

Americans had the smarts, and spent the time and money to design, develop and construct the rocket ships that carried astronauts safely to the moon and back.

But Americans can’t figure out how to stop lone, gun-toting, homicidal psychopaths from killing and/or wounding up to hundreds of people at a time.

Americans can spend the time and money to design, develop and construct automobiles that drive themselves through dense, urban traffic environments and on high-speed interstate highways. Safely.

Yet Americans can’t figure out how to stop lone, gun-toting, homicidal psychopaths from killing and/or wounding up to hundreds of people at a time.

Americans applied their intellectual power and monetary resources to create a digital communications network called the Internet that connected the planet and made information available to anyone around the globe who had online access. It was the modern version of Gutenberg’s printing press. Times infinity.

However, Americans can’t figure out how to stop lone, gun-toting, homicidal psychopaths from killing and/or wounding up to hundreds of people at a time.

Americans had the money, time and ingenuity to map human DNA. Armed with that knowledge, scientists are now using it to fight disease and save lives, among many other uses of the data.

Even so, Americans can’t figure out how to stop lone, gun-toting, homicidal psychopaths from killing and/or wounding up to hundreds of people at a time.

Americans created a system of communications technology using microwaves and satellites and cell towers that allowed government, private enterprise and individuals to communicate across whatever the vast distances that separate us.

Nevertheless, Americans can’t figure out how to stop lone, gun-toting, homicidal psychopaths from killing and/or wounding up to hundreds of people at a time.

Americans have doggedly expended phenomenal amounts of time and money to create a dizzying range of pharmaceutical products that cure and/or reduce disease. In addition, other drugs allow humans to maintain good health that might otherwise have declined, lengthening lives that would have been shorter.

All the same, Americans can’t figure out how to stop lone, gun-toting, homicidal psychopaths from killing and/or wounding up to hundreds of people at a time.

Americans have created smartphone technologies that have literally placed the power of full-blown computers into a handheld device that fits into your shirt pocket. In addition to that, these tools also include marvelous cameras and the capability to make voice and video calls to, you guessed it, anywhere in the world.

Still, Americans can’t figure out how to stop lone, gun-toting, homicidal psychopaths from killing and/or wounding up to hundreds of people at a time.

Why not?

Yes, I know it’s impossible to stop all mass murder – with or without the availability of firearms. I realize even the best mental health care and screening in the world will not stop all mass murders from happening, no matter the weapon, or weapons, of choice.

But there must be an answer, a way to dramatically reduce the ability and the likelihood of lone, gun-toting, homicidal psychopaths from killing and/or wounding up to hundreds of people at a time.

Unless, deep down, America really doesn’t want to do whatever it will take to stop so much carnage from happening so often. That’s why I believe, sad as it is to admit, most Americans are OK with letting things continue as they are. I believe we have to admit that actually using our brains and money and time to confront and fix the problem just isn’t where most Americans want to go. At the very least, we must concede a majority of the voters in this nation are fine with the status quo.

So, we send our love and prayers and maybe even a little money to the survivors and to the families of the homicide victims. But we’ll stop short of trying to fix the problem. That’s going too far. America can’t do that, because we have decided we won’t do that.

Email Don at dportercolumn@hotmail.com. Twitter: @DonPondorter.

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