Will America Learn From the Texas Massacre? History Says We Won’t

Sandy Hook, Aurora, Pulse nightclub, San Bernadino, Plano, Fort Hood, Virginia Tech, Las Vegas, and so many more have the exact same story in the national narrative. Here’s how the next couple of weeks are going to play out in the wake of the tragic shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

In Sutherland Springs, Texas, dozens of people were gunned down while enjoying a Sunday morning mass at the First Baptist Church. As of this publication, there have been at least 26 reported deaths as a result. The saddest part about this event is it certainly won’t be the last mass shooting we see this year. In the United States, we follow an all-too-predictable cycle of media coverage and ineffectual dialogue. So here’s what’s going to happen in the coming weeks. We pray we are wrong.

1. Get to know a mass shooter

Flowers are laid down in memory of victims of mass shooting.

Flowers lie at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, following a mass shooting that left at least 26 people dead. | Suzanne Cordeiro/AFP/Getty Images

With any large news story like this, the first responsibility of the media is to discover who perpetrated the act and why. You can bet your bottom dollar that — or something eerily similar — will be a headline in the coming days. So far, what we know of the shooter right now is he didn’t like religion or religious people, and he was discharged from the military for “bad conduct,” ABC reports. He also has a domestic violence conviction that might not have been in the FBI database for gun background checks.

Next: The president and other politicians deliver heartfelt sound bytes. 

2. The politicians speak

U.S. President Donald Trump makes a statement on the Las Vegas mass shooting at the Diplomatic Room of the White House

U.S. President Donald Trump sends his thoughts and prayers to the victims of the latest mass shooting. | Alex Wong/Getty Images

Every single time something like this happens, politicians immediately comment about how horrible the incident was — sans anything in the way of substantive solutions. Their “thoughts and prayers” are with the victims and their families. Then, there will be words about the first responders and their courageous acts. And then, the narrative will turn to how evil the perpetrator is and how thoughtless these actions were. They’re likely said in that order. And though that shouldn’t underscore the heroism of first responders and law enforcement, politicians often use them to divert focus.

Next: Calls for action begin to surface.

3. Cue the gun control parade

Anti-gun demonstrators protest

Anti-gun demonstrators protest. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

The moment people start to throw out the gun-control argument is about the same time that the dust and chaos have settled. Although, given the severity of and how relatively recent the Las Vegas mass shooting was, this might come out a lot quicker. We will pretty much know everything about the shooter and have a full picture of the incident. The conversation will likely turn to, “How do we prevent this in the future?” Certain politicians will call for just a little bit of gun control — just something small, such as smaller magazines for bullets or some other compromise they’ve made with the gun lobby just in case it actually passes. As a side note, Jim Jefferies is about to get more plays of his hilarious and very thoughtful bit on gun control.

Next: “I must protect my Second Amendment!”

4. The inevitable pivot toward mental health

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) (2nd R) speaks during a press conference calling for passage of mental health legislation as part of a gun safety package with U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) (R) at the U.S. Capitol

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana, (second from right) speaks during a press conference calling for passage of mental health legislation as part of a gun safety package with U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, (right) at the U.S. Capitol. | Win McNamee/Getty Images

This is where the Republican spin machine outshines any spin machine out there. The moment the debate about gun control begins, the Republicans will go on the defensive and say something to the tune of, “This is not a gun control issue; this is a mental health issue.” President Donald Trump already jumped on that train. The moment that line is uttered the media and regular civilians are in heated debates about whether one argument is more valid than the other. This debate will go on for about a week or two.

Next: It seems like we’re just about to take real action.

5. We think we’re actually going to do something

US President Barack Obama (L) delivers remarks with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (C) and Secretary of Veteran Affairs Eric Shinseki at a conference on mental health at the White House in Washington

Former President Barack Obama delivers remarks at a conference on mental health at the White House. | Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

After a solid week and a half of coverage on the two debates, a couple of media specials, and the emotional attachment to the shootings has fallen, legislation will begin to make its way into Congress. It will look like there is a united front on both sides of the aisle and meaningful legislation will pass.

If you look at the aftermath of Sandy Hook, President Barack Obama made a rule to prevent mentally ill people from purchasing firearms. It essentially made the Social Security Administration add people with mental disorders to a list banning them from purchasing firearms.

It was a great compromise between the two arguments. You get a little bit of gun control and a little bit of mental health. And you actually do something to prevent a person with mental health issues from purchasing a gun. Now we don’t have to worry about that, right?

Next: Wait for it …

6. Republicans who receive money from the NRA will do nothing

 Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) (3rd L) shares a laugh with Republican members of Congress after signing legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, shares a laugh with Republican members of Congress after signing legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

With any law that’s passed after a mass shooting, it’s almost certainly repealed. Take Sandy Hook, for example. In early 2017, the Senate rolled back the Obama-era rule requiring the Social Security Administration to share information about mentally disabled people with the no-purchasing list. Aside from a few background checks in some states, purchasing guns is relatively the same as it has ever been.

Any mental health legislation pertaining to firearms has all been vetoed, voted down, or repealed. So don’t get your hopes up or your feelings down about any sort of legislation.

Next: Will this ever change?

7. We will never change

People hold candles during an evening memorial service for the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shootings, at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

People hold candles during an evening memorial service for the victims of the Pulse nightclub shootings. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

This article was originally about the Las Vegas massacre. But just as Jim Jefferies’ bit on gun control always comes up, this article will, too. All we have to do is change the title, edit a few words, and hit “republish” because we always follow these steps. This is how America reacts to gun violence. It’s a predictable pattern. It’s never going to change, at least until our country is willing to actually talk about real, actionable solutions.

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