Yesterday, yet another killer armed with a semi-automatic weapon opened fire in a crowd, this time in a shopping mall in Portland, Oregon. He killed two people and wounded several others before killing himself. The shooter was 22 years old. How does a young man of 22--or of any age--get his hands on an assault rifle? It must be a fairly easy thing to do, which says something about our idiotic gun laws that no one wants to hear.
But we are used to such things by now. They have become positively normal. The tone of news reports about the incident is indicative. One report I read noted that the young man wore a ski mask and went on to quote former FBI agent (and ABC News contributor) Brad Garrett as saying "The shooter's mask is typical for mass shooters, who often dress up in costume or wear something other than their regular clothes when they open fire in public." Is it just me? Or is it not deeply depressing to hear a news commentator use the term "mass shooter" as if he thinks it a rather ordinary category of persons--like "golf player" or "gift shopper"? "Open fire in public"? It's what mass shooters do.
[Update: And today, December 14, a man armed with three guns walked into an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut and killed (besides himself) 20 young students and six staff members. Earlier in the day, he shot and killed his own mother. I know all the arguments, but it still seems to me that we REALLY need to do something about the availability of weapons of mass murder in this country.]