'We often sanitize what is happening'
It's the guns, stupid.
There have been so many mass shootings in America since the legalization of assault rifles that we have become a nation of mass shooting connoisseurs. We can choose the elements of each atrocity we want to focus on — the target selection, the police response, a shooter’s manifesto — and immediately and seamlessly integrate it into our worldviews. That’s if we even look up to take in the fact that, ah, yes, another school has been shot up, another bunch of kids are dead, where was the last one again? Michigan?
I include myself in that. When the killer has, say, driven hundreds of miles to kill Latinos in an explicit attempt to keep “the Democrat party” from “own[ing] America,” or their manifesto explicitly cites a white-nationalist trope like the “Great Replacement” as their motive for murdering Black shoppers in a supermarket, I have a pretty straightforward column to write. There is a very real, and measurable, trend of rising violence against racial, ethnic, gender-identity, and religious minorities in this country, and those attacks were part of it. Write, spellcheck, send post.
This week’s massacre at Nashville’s Covenant School is, at first glance, more complex. The killer appears to have been a former student who, according to police, may have