Fill in the Blank: Columbine, Sandy Hook, Parkland, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Las Vegas, __________

FROM BUD TO FADING FLOWER, this heirloom rose retains its beauty throughout its life cycle. With water, sun, warmth and minimal care, the rose bush thrives, as do its purple blossoms each for a time. The plant dies in the winter and returns to life the next spring. We mortals should be so lucky.


We all know it’s coming. Sooner or later, a mass shooting will come to our town — to our school, our college, our worship center, our movie theater, our concert venue, our park, our store, our workplace.

And there’s nothing we can do to stop it.


Guns. Violence. Hate. Mental illness. Video games. Movies. Television. The Internet. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. The President. The Congress. The Judiciary. The Fourth Estate. We, the People. We, the Tired, the Poor, the Huddled Masses, the Homeless, the Wretched Refuse of Teeming Shores throughout our nation’s storied past. Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness. The Second Amendment. Laws. Weapons of Mass Destruction.

And, lest I forget, thoughts and prayers. I didn’t bother to capitalize those two words, even though What We Think and What We Say — whether to our God or to our Neighbor in the broadest senses of both words — are fundamentally more important than anything in the previous paragraph’s long list of nouns.

WHAT WILL IT TAKE to stop mass shootings in our public spaces? So far, mere thoughts and prayers haven’t been enough to effect change.

But those are the issues, right? And there’s nothing we can do to change anything for the better where any of those topics are concerned, right?


There’s much we can do, if we want change. But a true solution will involve all those areas of concern and others, not just one or two of them.

The solution will be complicated, not simple. You don’t have to be a prophet to read the bullet holes on the wall and state the obvious.

It’s ironic that we, as a nation, are having this grim discussion so close to the 50th anniversary of what is generally called America’s greatest achievement, the Apollo 11 mission in July 1969 that put two men on the moon for the first time, a goal that seemed to be an impossible dream when the President tasked NASA with it eight years earlier.

But that was a different time, a different president with a different brand of leadership, and a different country of people living together in harmony from sea to shining sea. We had no problems then. There were no distractions. Much of what plagues us now didn’t even exist in the 1960s, a decade of peace and prosperity. We respected other people’s rights, and we valued truth, love and the brotherhood of every race, creed, color and gender. It was the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, whatever that means.


Yeah, yeah, I could go on and on. But what’s the point? (That’s a rhetorical question with no answer, not my effort to get you, the reader, to consider the main idea that I’m trying to convey in this column.)

We don’t really want change.

And why should we?

It hasn’t happened to us here in __________.

Or to __________, whom we love.


2 thoughts on “Fill in the Blank: Columbine, Sandy Hook, Parkland, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Las Vegas, __________”

  1. My own personal decision is that we could at least do something about universal background checks being more qualitative and connected with the various agencies and constituencies. I also believe that while understanding our Second Amendment rights, that we should vote to stop unneeded assault weapons and the accoutrement that go with them. Please everybody, let’s come together to maket positive steps. Immediately.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Neal. I agree that certain things can be done right away — like the things you mentioned — that can help keep military weapons out of non-military hands (or any gun out of the wrong hands). I also agree with the late Justice Stevens that we may need to repeal the 2nd Amendment and then address gun control in a constitutional amendment that is stated clearly and reflects the real world, not some Revolutionary War or Wild West version of America.

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