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CROSSES AT TOWER SQUARE, 8.5

A bouquet of flowers accompanies the El Paso, Texas, cross on Monday at Tower Square, where 10 crosses listed the date, location and number of deaths for the most recent mass shootings in the United States. 

Americans often receive travel advisories, warning them of potential dangers that may lurk overseas in nations experiencing instability.

Following shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that killed at least 31 people and injured scores more, the tables have turned. Uruguay’s foreign ministry cautioned citizens traveling to the United States, citing “growing indiscriminate violence, mostly for hate crimes.” Venezuela followed suit Tuesday.

Simply saying that a country as accomplished as this one cannot solve the problem of gun violence -- which occurs here at a rate unmatched in the developed world -- is an insult to American ingenuity. It’s time we set aside politics and whatever else divides us to actually have the nuanced discussions needed to bring action and reverse this ghastly tide.

Just because the U.S. Constitution has a Second Amendment doesn’t mean Americans are subjected to senseless slaughter.

Beyond the massacres that made national news, gunfire in Chicago left seven dead and at least 48 injured – including 17 people in the span of two hours – last weekend alone, according to the Chicago Tribune. Just last Wednesday, two people in Lincoln died of gunshot wounds 40 minutes apart.

But El Paso and Dayton must serve as clarion calls for Americans to stop yelling at each other across an artificial divide and start talking about actionable solutions.

Honor the heroes and victims of this weekend’s horrific tragedies. Eradicate the hatred that appears to have inspired the El Paso shooter and so many others before him. Don’t give these domestic terrorists the attention and infamy so many copycats crave. Study the causes of our disproportionately high number of these random acts of violence, and use the facts unearthed to make us all safer.

These things should not be beneath the nation that won two World Wars and placed men on the moon.

“‘No way to prevent this,’ says only nation where this regularly happens,” reads the headline on The Onion, a satirical news site, that’s now been recycled and reposted for years following each and every mass shooting, with only the dateline and photo changing.

Though the website best known for acerbic wit and social commentary, its all-too-frequently updated article takes a serious tone. It questions our willingness to accept this status quo in “a nation where over half of the world’s deadliest mass shootings have occurred in the past 50 years and whose citizens are 20 times more likely to die of gun violence than those of other developed nations.”

Again, these statistics are unbecoming of a nation as great as the United States of America – one whose gun violence has cost too many innocent lives from coast to coast.

Inaction has brought us nothing but more bloodshed. It’s time we stopped talking and started doing.

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