From schools to back-to-school shopping, churches to synagogues, music festivals to food festivals, mass shooting can happen anytime, anywhere. The motivations for the shootings range from feeling victimized and bullied to hate for particular races and ethnicities.
The one thing these specific types of mass shootings have in common is that they happen in America more often than anywhere else in the civilized world.
However, compared to the overall downward trend of gun violence in America, they’re an anomaly.
Rather than doing the wash, rinse, repeat cycle that we see so often after these tragedies, what’s needed is a comprehensive, independent review of the facts.
How much of a role does our gun culture play in the proliferation of these mass shootings? How much of a role do social media and online hate forums like 8chan play in fueling the hate and rage that consumes each of these mass shooters?
How much of a role does a potentially inadequate mental health system play in this continuing problem?
These are all critical questions that must be answered to find the best, most effective solutions that will prevent future tragedies from taking place.
In the aftermath of mass shootings, we see calls for a variety of different policies, many of which may or may not have a real impact on addressing the issue at hand. Emotions run high, which is certainly understandable, but that’s also rarely the best state to be in when attempting to make sound decisions. Another option that isn’t feasible is doing nothing.
Following the mass shooting in Parkland, a commission was set up to study different ways the state could better protect students and staff. It was an in-depth investigation that included law enforcement, civilians, and lawmakers. While not everyone on the commission agreed with some of the final recommendations, most notably the option to arm teachers, numerous other proposals have been enacted.
Their work doesn’t guarantee another school shooting won’t take place in Florida.
However, it’s hard to argue that Florida schools aren’t better off today than they were pre-Parkland.
That is what we need on a national level. After the 9/11 attacks, the country mobilized to address the threat and ensure we’d be better prepared if anyone tried to do something similar in the future.
It’s time America’s mass shooting epidemic receive the same treatment.
A 9/11-style independent commission should be convened, tasked with investigating all aspects of recent mass shootings, from guns to mental health to the role of the Internet and media. The commission should have whatever resources are necessary to conduct a thorough, comprehensive investigation.
Finally, after their work, the commission should be required to issue a report to both Congress and the public detailing their findings and policy recommendations.
Everything gets politicized these days, and this will too, but it’s the only serious option that has the potential to lead to some form of consensus.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The status quo is unsustainable and is costing innocent lives.
Extreme gun control measures aren’t a political reality. It’s time for a pragmatic approach to a problem that’s endured for far too long.
It’s time for a 9/11-style commission on mass shootings.
Ryan Gorman is the host of PM Tampa Bay on NewsRadio WFLA.