The following editorial is the opinion and analysis of the Star’s Editorial Board.
Can you name the most recent mass shooting before this weekend? The one before that? The one before that?
Monday morning President Trump asked God to “bless the memory of those who perished in Toledo” and Texas in response to two mass shootings over the weekend that murdered 31 people.
Former Vice President Joe Biden referred to “the tragic events in Houston today and also in Michigan the day before,” at a fundraiser for his presidential campaign.
Neither man got it right.
And what a pathetic comment that is on the state of our union.
We can’t know, of course, if either man knew the correct locations — El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio —and flubbed their remarks, but it raises the question:
What does it take for a mass shooting to stand out on the never-ending list of murders in American elementary and high schools, parking lots, retail stores, movie theaters, synagogues, churches, public parks, city streets, baseball fields where members of Congress were practicing, universities, concert halls, night clubs, festivals, military bases and beyond?
Tucson knows this pain.
On Jan. 8, 2011, a young man opened fire and shot 19 Tucsonans, including then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Six people were killed. Our community didn’t “lose” them — they were taken from us.
Dayton and El Paso have joined the list that, as of Aug. 5, already included 253 mass shootings, according to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive, which classifies “mass shooting” as an incident in which four or more people are shot, excluding the shooter.
They won’t be the last.
We must fight the creeping sense of dreadful inevitability that mass gun violence has become an ordinary part of normal American life.
We must keep our sense of civic outrage at those in power who can do something to make us safer but refuse.
We must refuse to ignore the connection between white supremacism, nativism, anti-Semiticism, Trump’s anti-immigrant tweets and rally chants, and mass shootings.
Blaming “evil” and “monsters” and video games and mental illness, as Trump did repeatedly in his Monday remarks, does nothing to solve the problem of gun violence and gun culture in our country — but it gives sycophant politicians, like Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, boogeymen to blame for their own inaction.
In February the U.S. House passed two bills of the Bipartisan Background Checks Act: House Res. 8 would require a federal background check on most person-to-person firearm transfers; and House Res. 1112 would make dealers wait 10 days (instead of the current three-day maximum) for a background-check response before going ahead with a gun sale.
The Senate has not taken up either bill, which is an outrage.
We call on Arizona Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally to counter McConnell’s cowardice and do everything possible to bring these bills forward for a vote.
Doing nothing is not an option.