Nothing is going to change. Let’s start with that.

The flags will hang at half staff. There will be candlelight vigils. There will be moments of silence and thunderous speeches. 

None of it will matter. 

We’ve seen this over and over again. Each time people think that this time it will be different. 

Except it never is.

As long as it’s easy for monsters to get their hands on things that allow them to massacre large numbers of  people in small amounts of time, it will never be different.

Because those are the fundamental variables in this equation. You take a bad person, and you add the easy ability to do great harm, and this is going to be the result.

Police say a white supremacist took a semi-automatic rifle to an El Paso shopping center and killed 22 people because he worried about a Hispanic invasion of Texas.

In the aftermath, some politicians tried to steer the conversation toward  mental illness, video games or a lack of school prayer. 

There was plenty praying in schools in the eras when people of color were regularly beaten in the streets and hanged from trees, so it seems an ineffective solution for the evils of racism.

Video games are international — with many of them rooted in Japan — but it’s only in the United States where we see this story unfold with frustrating frequency.

Others want to make this a mental illness issue, but evil isn’t an issue of mental health. Neither is the resurgence in violent white nationalism that has swept across the country with rallies, marches and a level of hate-fueled rhetoric not seen in decades.

Some in Texas had the courage to call the El Paso attack what it was. 

Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Land Commissioner George P. Bush both called it terrorism, with Cruz saying it was fueled by white supremacy and Bush calling it “white terrorism.”

The Ohio attack, which killed 9, doesn’t have as clear a motive, but it’s the same story. Monster gets weapon, uses weapon, innocent people die.

President Donald Trump spoke a lot about changes in a Monday morning statement, but his predecessors have done the same. 

Indeed, this president has backpedaled from seemingly strong policy statements after other mass shootings.

In a special front page editorial, a rarity in the newspaper world, the Austin American Statesman’s headline reads “We are better than this. Aren’t we?”

The answer, sadly, is no.

And nobody should believe any differently until there’s evidence to prove it.

Change the city, change the location, change the date — school, night club, movie theater, church, festival — and we all move on, holding our breath until the next one.

But don’t hold your breath for any real change.

(9) comments

Chris Lykins


Someone reported my comment as abusive, which is odd. I wonder who? Anyway, it broke the thread and thus my pretty website. I'll have to figure out why it reacted that way.

No matter, though. It has been reinstated so that people can see what you deem to be a "middle finger salute" which is just me saying that your righteous indignation approach was a nice try.

So, let's take this point by point. I stated that "there's no evidence that politics played a part" which is what law enforcement has said about the motive for the shooting. It's not a biased notion. That's law enforcement. If you disagree with that, take it up with them. Bonus points for the use of puerile and sophistry, though.

We may never know the motive of the Dayton shooter, although most recent stories have sources saying a deep misogyny far outweigh any political leanings — which would put him more in line with the Isla Vista murderer — like we'll likely never know the motive of the Vegas shooter. As maddening as that is, it's a reality.

Don't assume my politics, and I won't assume yours. And neither of them are relevant. The truth is the guy in El Paso was a racist bigot with a manifesto posted online saying why he was doing what he was doing and law enforcement hasn't been able to draw a line between the guy in Dayton's politics and his actions.

I'm not disputing that lefties can kill people just like righties can. They absolutely can and absolutely do. I'm not disputing that they can use politics for their motive for doing so. They absolutely can and absolutely do. And if the guy in Dayton had posted a manifesto online and then gone to an ICE office and murdered officers, I'd be right there with you in pointing that out.

But that's not what happened.

Diana Budig

I’m wondering why you, conveniently, mentioned only the white supremacy angle of the El Paso shooter, and made no mention of the anti-Trump rhetoric of the Dayton shooter.

Since I don’t know any mentally sound people who would commit such a heinous act, why do you pronounce that this is NOT a mental health issue? This is the type of rhetoric that aids in dividing Americans and foments hatred among those unable to think for themselves.

I just purchased a paid-in-full subscription 3 weeks ago. I won’t support biased news reporting, so I’ll be canceling that subscription today.

Chris Lykins

A) There's no evidence that politics played any part in the Dayton shooter's motives. Whereas the other guy had a racist manifesto detailing why he did it. There's a noticeable difference there.

B) The fact that you don't know any mentally-sound people who would commit such a heinous act isn't evidence that this shooter had a mental illness. It's your experience and belief, and I'm glad that you don't know anyone who would commit mass murder. I also don't know anyone who would commit mass murder. I hope to keep it that way.

C) We call this the "Opinions" section for a reason.

John Landry

Chris, you owe Ms. Budig an apology when you said, "There's no evidence that politics played any part in the Dayton shooter's motives." While he didn't write a manifesto, even CNN states "....a Twitter account that appears to belong to Betts retweeted extreme left-wing and anti-police posts, as well as tweets supporting Antifa, or anti-fascist, protesters."

Additionally, CNN said, "The account retweeted messages supporting Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, as well as posts against ICE agents, including one that said, '"these people are monsters,"' and multiple posts condemning police, and supporting Antifa protesters, who often use violent tactics." Reading this I don't think you can say there is "no eidence."

A sincere apology to Ms. Budig would be appropriate. Also, add there is substantial evidence that Betts was an extreme leftist who supported Senators Sanders and Warren and also the extreme organization Antifa. Don't fail to mention that Betts condemned the police and called ICE agents "monsters."

Chris Lykins

John, no. He had political opinions, and expressed those opinions, but to date law enforcement hasn't indicated that there appears to be any connection between his actions and his politics. And a linkage after the fact, even if were one forthcoming, would not retroactively apply to what I wrote, which is "there's no evidence that."

But, hey, nice try.

John Landry

Report  Add Reply

You stated that "...there's no evidence that politics played a part..." is your own fabricated, biased notion and you know it. From the CNN article, there is certainly some evidence. I'm truly surprised at your attempt at such regressive, puerile sophistry that my grandsons at the age of six would have used.  

Perhaps you didn't know about Betts political views when you wrote the editorial, but that is only because your media associates barely made mention of it, e.g, . I've not seen one mention of it in the San Antonio paper. However, if he had been a rabid right-wing nut, you and I both know his "nuttery" would have been exposed all over the media as it should have been. 

Without question, you will continue to claim that "that there is no evidence that politics played a part in the Dayton shooter's motives" and that is okay. However, you know that's a falsehood, and I know that you certainly know it's false. This is the last I will comment about this episode and on your obvious left-wing bias. 

I'm not a supporter of Trump, and I didn't vote for him. I wrote in another Republican's name, so I'm not protesting for that reason. I just believe you should be more truthful when you are exposed in a deception.

John K. Landry

P. S. You still owe Ms. Budig an apology. Also, your concluding middle finger salute to me is duly noted.

Rita Wittwer

Thank you for your editorial. I couldn't agree more. We have too many guns. People who want a gun for protection or for hunting should have no problem with extensive background checks, if it weeds out those who would prefer killing us. You only need a single shot for protection and hunting. Anything more is for killing others. This just has to stop!!!

Diana Budig

A single shot for protection? Seriously? And if you have multiple intruders?

Richard Johnson

In a sense, you are correct. Change will only come about when the nature of humans change, and there are no more motivations to do criminal acts. (Motivation comes from within, not from external events like laws. Circumstance can trigger motivation, but the motivation to do what, is totally due to the individual.) So, don't expect politicians or any law passed to create the change.

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