November 23, 2023
You are here:  Home  >  Opinion  >  Editorials  >  Current Article

Mass shootings taking terrible toll in America


Two years ago it was Isla Vista.

This year it is San Bernardino and Orlando.

Mass shootings have become a way of life in America — and that is a tragedy.

This year’s shootings have a particularly troubling twist: the targeting of LGBTQ victims in a nightclub by a young American-born Muslim who apparently was radicalized online.

It’s worth noting that the murder of UCLA professor and Westmont College alum William Klug by a former student might itself have become a mass killing but for the quick thinking of a professor who prevented the shooter from leaving a room.

We’ll offer a few observations about the explosion of violence in our society and its aftermath.

First, the targeting of any population group is unacceptable. The outpouring of support for Orlando victims — in this region from the newly reinvigorated Pacific Pride Foundation and others — is commendable.

Second, in this new wave of terror, we must recognize that the radical Islamists who are indoctrinating home-grown allies or “lone wolf” attackers have a keen knowledge of democracy and its weaknesses.

They know that when politicians grandstand over guns — for or against controls — and the debate ends in gridlock, they win. They know that our open society and free press mean that every terror attack results in massive publicity and a new recruiting tool.

What’s needed now is a data-driven look at mass shootings — a look at whether an assault weapons ban, a reduction in the frequency of gun purchases and a limit on gun magazines and ammunition sales would serve as a deterrent.

There’s a delicate balance to be struck between personal freedom and police intervention. More laws may be needed to make it much harder for people who are likely to be mass casualty perpetrators to get their hands on guns.

Today we are trying to reduce policing powers and adopting hands-off policies in neighborhood policing at a time when violence is rising — not a good combination.

The media also has to take a look at itself and understand how perpetrators and radical Islamists are using coverage of terror acts to recruit new perpetrators.

We appear to have entered a new phase in which a surge in domestic shootings that began with Columbine has combined with the dark forces that brought us the Sept. 11 attacks. It’s time to get serious about guns, our freedoms and securing our future.

Gauchos head to NCAA College World Series

A contingent of Gauchos fans and supporters will head for Omaha as the UC Santa Barbara baseball team plays its first ever NCAA College World Series.

The team’s ticket to the big time was earned by a walk-off grand slam as the team defeated Louisville to win the regional championship in Louisville, Ky.

The small band of loyalists will pale in comparison to the contingents for perennial powerhouses like Florida or Miami. But as the underdogs, the Gauchos have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

They’re already heroes in our book. Good luck, team.