“This is Odessa, Texas. Things like this don’t happen here. This is small-town Texas.”
This is what Senior Pastor Del Traffanstedt told his congregation Sunday morning after a shooter killed seven people and injured twenty-two in his community. His church is within sight of the movie theater where the violent chase ended.
Americans are afraid… perhaps more than at any time since 9/11. It’s understandable. Despite the fact that most of us are safer today than we think, the sheer evil that’s behind a mass shooting or a violent attack is put right in our face by the 24-hour news cycle.
The state of our national discourse is, to put it mildly, discouraging and unhelpful, and the reaction to the recent shootings only amplified how bad it is. Once again, everyone took their place along partisan battle lines to pound the same old drums, but it’s past time we admit that there’s something deeper going on in America than too many guns, or too few guns, or violent video games, or the President’s rhetoric, or even the evil of white supremacy.
President Trump will visit El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, later today as political conflict over last weekend’s shootings continues. Politicians and the media are also debating the role of gun control in preventing such tragedies.