Wednesday’s mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., is the latest tragedy to befall a nation accustomed to headlines of gun deaths and the partisan political response that follows them.
The gradual decrescendo that accompanies such horrific incidents — from outrage and thoughts and prayers to cooling off periods and eventual inaction — has long been familiar to Americans. Yet the killings in Parkland have come close on the heels of other acts of semi-automatic slaughter.
Three of the nation’s 10 most deadly mass shootings have happened in the last six months, taking the lives of more than 100 people.
Perhaps that explains a small but noticeable change in the response to this latest horror. Take Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a staunch gun-rights Republican, who on Thursday went against party orthodoxy and suggested that people with mental illness perhaps should not be allowed to purchase firearms.
“It’s looking at who should have guns, should individuals who have mental illness have guns. It’s not one thing,” Scott told CNN. “It’s all these things put together.”
That went far beyond President Trump’s call to “tackle the difficult issue of mental health” in that it returned to a proposal by former President Barack Obama that could limit the availability of guns.
While Scott’s suggestion is a far cry from his state enacting a new gun control law, Florida residents attending a candlelight vigil for the Parkland victims sent their own message with a chant of “No More Guns!”
With anger over the latest shooting still high, it would be naive to believe that gun control measures were poised for swift passage in state legislatures or, even more unlikely, in the U.S. Congress.
Still, there are signs that many Americans have had enough, and that frustration is being expressed in places where it is not normally witnessed, such as the cover of the Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post.
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