Better response is needed to make us safer

We need a better response to what is happening in the country we love and call home. Weekend reaction to the loss of 29 lives in two cities was less than encouraging.

One national wire story said El Paso and Dayton increased the number of mass shootings in the U.S. to 250 this calendar year. That same wire service, The Associated Press, had another story saying the number was 22.

Why the difference?

The first number matches the Gun Violence Archive tally, and it is calculated as a single incident in which at least four people are shot or killed not including the gunman. The second number is from a database compiled by The Associated Press, Northeastern University and USA Today, and it is calculated the same as the FBI: killings of four or more, not including the killer.

Others who study these kinds of things will count injuries, not just the dead. At a California festival the previous weekend, for example, three were killed not including the shooter and 12 people were wounded. It only makes one of the lists, yet is no less horrific.

A fair number of us heard “249” on Saturday and “250” on Sunday when we awoke or went to church. We wondered, “When?” When did all of these 200-plus others happen? We remembered the city employee in Virginia Beach, maybe, but why didn’t we hear about the rest?

In some analytics, it was considered a mass shooting when a man killed his father, brother, former girlfriend and a man at a gas station. Or another man that killed his wife and three children then set fire to their home.

We don’t take offense or side with any organization’s metrics. One life taken in a shooting is too many.

The numbers matter, and more than just for anyone trying to make a point.

We don’t believe this is a political party issue. This is a national problem that has happened while both parties have been in the White House, and while both parties have controlled each chamber on Capitol Hill.

The equation for the solution doesn’t involve a single stroke of a pen for legislation, be it related to guns or mental health. Those things can help. But people hell-bent on evil are difficult to stop.

Comments that further splinter along party choice may be good for candidates’ re-election efforts, but they’re not constructive to the dialogue needed for unity in the USA. More politicians need to take the high road, the avenue toward responsible problem-solving rather than rhetoric of which this country has grown tired.

As the nation grieves and tries to comprehend, blame is being hurled and political gain is being sought. It is divisive, and the latter is downright insulting.

It is not the response to solve what is happening in America.