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Opinion: Another mass shooting, but nothing changes

A memorial for the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School is seen on May 27, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas.
Michael M. Santiago
Getty Images
A memorial for the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School is seen on May 27, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas.

Mass shootings have become a part of America's landscape.

This week, at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas; another elementary school. We've seen mass shootings at middle schools, high schools, community colleges and universities.

Just since 2000, mass shootings in this country have killed worshippers in churches, synagogues and a Sikh temple. There have been mass shootings on streets and in parking lots, in factories and post offices, airports, movie theaters, nightclubs, shopping malls and diners.

If you think, "That's enough, you've made the point," I'd have to say that the facts of all these killings year after year have not made a point. They go on.

Over the past few years, there have been mass shootings on military bases, in municipal buildings, at festivals, bowling alleys and spas. There have been mass shootings in states with strict gun laws, and states where a newly-18 year old can buy a gun, but not a beer.

There have been mass shootings in supermarkets - as in Buffalo just two weeks ago - in health care clinics and apartment complexes, nursing homes, trailer parks and subways.

Some mass shooters have targeted people because they are Asian, Black, Gay, Jewish, or Latino. Some just tried to kill as many people as they could.

Our children have been in almost as many active shooter drills as school plays, because they've seen school shootings almost every year: all those images they can find online of students running out of classrooms with their hands in the air; many in tears, many in shock.

God knows what children have seen in nightmares.

If you read from the list of mass shootings just in this last generation, you might recognize places we vowed never to forget: Virginia Tech; Sandy Hook Elementary; Emanuel AME Church; Pulse nightclub; the Route 91 Harvest Festival; Tree of Life Synagogue; Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Mass shootings have become - they're the only right words, really - a grim routine. The shock, grief, international attention, vigils, flowers, funerals, eulogies, investigations, shattered families and familiar political arguments, now well practiced - before the next horrifying occasion strikes.

People care. People pray. But what changes?

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.

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