LIKE ALL MARYLANDERS, we at Baltimore OUTloud are sickened by news of the massacre that occurred at the Capital Gazette last week. As a society we have become practically numb to the never-ending tally of mass shootings that occur in this country, but this one struck much too close, both geographically and in its assault on the press. Sure, the alleged perpetrator was an obsessed, deranged, unstable person. However, the relentless polarization and drumbeat of hate that is spewing across the airways and in our nation’s capital only enhance the chances that unhinged people will act.
It is very hard not to despair of this cycle and the culture of gun ownership in this country that makes yearly deaths of 13,000 or more completely acceptable. A couple of years ago David Cook wrote an article in the Chattanooga Free Press titled “The Second Amendment is killing Us.” We could not state it more clearly! The manufacturers of guns, the NRA, the politicians beholden to them, and the citizens who have allowed the Second Amendment to be perverted and used for corporate greed are partly and perhaps primarily responsible for the mayhem. Given our acquiescence to this relentless slaughter, we America has shown that it is incapable of responsible gun ownership.
Our thoughts and condolences go out to the families of these champions of our most important freedom of speech. Maybe someday there will be an end to this violence. In the meanwhile, we loudly echo the sentiment expressed by Bob Dylan in his 1963 anti-war anthem “Masters of War,” written in the early years of the 20 year Vietnam war that saw 58,000 Americans killed, a number we now surpass every five years through gun violence on US soil:
“Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns …
You that fasten all the trigger
For the others to fire
And you sit back and watch
While the death toll gets higher …
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul …”