"It's a little bit too soon" after Sunday's Sutherland Springs mass shooting in a church to start talking about gun control measures, according to our president.
Actually, it's a little bit too late. Ask the families of the 26 people killed and the 20 others who were injured.
It's also too late for the 58 slaughtered last month in Las Vegas, and the five police officers killed by a sniper in Dallas in July 2016, and the 49 killed by a madman in Orlando the month before that.
It's too late for the 14 killed at a 2015 Christmas party by a radicalized terrorist in San Bernardino, Calif., and for three killed at a Planned Parenthood Center days before in Colorado Springs, Colo., by a man shouting "save the babies."
It's more than two years too late for 10 who died on a Roseburg, Ore., college campus who were asked about their religion before being shot.
It's also two and a half years too late for five military servicemen killed in Chattanooga by a Kuwaiti-born, naturalized U.S. citizen who self-radicalized right here in our city years after graduating from Red Bank High School and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
It's long too late for another 65 killed in senseless mass shootings in Charleston, S.C.; Marysville, Wash.; Isla Vista, Calif.; Fort Hood, Texas; the Washington Navy Yard, Santa Monica, Calif., and the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
We could go on, but you get the message.
The fact is, it is too late for the more than 33,000 who are killed or kill themselves with guns each year — about 93 a day.
More Americans have died from gun violence, including suicides, since 1970 (about 1.4 million) than in all the wars in American history.
But we don't do anything to stop the easy proliferation of guns or to tighten where they can be carried or to slow their firing or anything else. Rather, we do more to spread gun violence.
Our president called for America to "do something" just hours after a foreign terrorist drove a rented truck through a bicycle lane in New York, killing eight. He wants to tighten our borders and what else — maybe ban truck rentals to people with foreign accents?
But each time there's a mass shooting, he and other politicians — mostly Republican — say it's "too soon" to talk about or "politicize" gun safety laws. Apparently it's OK to be politically correct when we're talking about gun deaths at the hands of white Americans — even those who've been court-marshaled for domestic abuse.
Instead, the politicians of our GOP-controlled government loosen gun safety laws, as Trump did in February when he signed legislation that rescinded an Obama-era requirement that the Social Security Administration report to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System the names of disability applicants who are unable to manage their finances due to a mental health condition. The Obama rule gave gun sellers a measurable tool with which to limit gun sales to those with mental illness. Now that's gone.
It is ironic that Trump said Sunday's mass shooting at a church "isn't a guns situation" but instead "a mental health problem at the highest level."
When it comes to guns, Congress seems disinclined to limit gun sales at all — even to people on the terrorist watch and "no-fly" list.
Even in the wake of the San Bernardino and Chattanooga terror attacks, our spineless Senate in December 2015 voted down what should have been a slam-dunk measure to put identified possible terror suspects on the U.S. "no-fly" lists also on a no-buy gun list. (More than 2,043 suspected terrorists who were on the suspected terrorist list successfully passed tests to buy guns between 2004 and 2014, according to the Government Accountability Office.)
Only one Republican, Mark Kirk of Illinois, supported the terrorist gun ban. Our tri-state senators — Lamar Alexander, Bob Corker, Saxby Chambliss, Johnny Isakson, Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby — all voted no. The measure failed, as did another that would have expanded background checks to gun shows and internet sales.
Americans — even gun-owning Americans — know that gun safety is as important as auto safety: In recent polls, 93 percent have favored background checks for all gun buyers, 89 percent agreed with preventing the mentally ill from buying guns, 88 percent said they are for a nationwide ban on the sale of guns to people convicted of violent crimes, 82 percent favor barring gun purchases for people on watch lists, and 77 percent want background checks for private sales and at gun shows. A majority even agrees with creating a federal database to track gun sales and says Congress is not doing enough to reduce gun violence.
It is not too soon to talk about our problem with guns. But it will forever be too late for the worshippers at Sutherland Springs' First Baptist Church.
How many more innocent people will we be too late to help?relatedarticlethumb