Back in 2013, shortly after Sandy Hook, the Chicago suburb of Highland Park passed an AR-15 ban. The ban not only prohibited any town residents from going out a buying an assault rifle, but also required any current AR-15 owner to either get rid of the gun or move out of town.

              The law was appealed by the usual pro-gun bunch and the appeal went all the way up to the Supreme Court, which by a vote of 7-2 refused to hear the case, so the law remained on the books. Fat lot of good that law did over the weekend, right?

              The two justices who dissented from the decision to hear the case were, of course, Scalia and Thomas, with the latter writing a lengthy dissent [thank you Paula] containing the following text: “The overwhelming majority of citizens who own and use such rifles do so for lawful purposes, including self-defense and target shooting. Under our precedents, that is all that is needed for citizens to have a right under the Second Amendment to keep such weapons.”

              What Thomas should have added to his list of lawful purposes for shooting an AR-15 was the ability to climb up on the roof of a building, pop off some 70 rounds at people marching in an Independence Day parade, kill 7 people and wound 46 more. 

              What’s wrong with that? How do we know that this kid who did the shooting didn’t believe he was acting in self-defense? For all we know, he looked down at the parade and thought that the marchers were a bunch of moving targets, like the type you shoot at in a penny arcade.

              Maybe I have things confused, but I don’t see what all the Highland Park ta-ra-rum is about when you consider that this mass shooting occurred on July 4th.  After all, isn’t the whole point of celebrating this holiday to remind everyone how unique and different we are?

              And if there’s one way that the United States is truly different, it’s the fact that mass shootings like the shooting that took place in Highland Park happens here, there, and all over the place.

              On the other hand, I found the media coverage of what happened in Highland Park over the weekend a little strange. Why? Because more than 7 people get killed and another 46 get wounded in weekend shootings in Chicago and St. Louis and other cities all the time. And what difference does it make if these victims are all standing on the same corner or are standing all over the city when the shots ring out?

              I have never felt comfortable when I watch old Lester Holt on NBC Nightly News and he only seems interested in gun violence when a bunch of people get shot in the same place at the same time.  Back in May, when some kid walked into a supermarket in Buffalo, killed 3 people and wounded 10 more, 5 people were killed and another 11 were wounded in Chicago on the exact, same day. In St. Louis, the toll was 14 shot and 6 died on that same day.

              We don’t spend much time talking about the usual gun assaults that happen 300 times every day precisely because the one-on-one shootings are common, like car accidents, they happen all the time. No big deal.

              We also don’t talk about them because they occur overwhelmingly in certain kinds of neighborhoods where only certain kinds of people live. And if you don’t know what kinds of neighborhoods and people I’m talking about, as Grandpa would say, ‘gai macht,’ (read: good for you.)

              What’s the difference between a kid who gets up on a rooftop and sprays a parade with 70 rounds from an AR-15, or a bunch of kids who walk around in different parts of a city and each one goes –bam, bam – with a gun and a whole bunch of people end up injured or dead?

              In both situations, someone decided that they wanted to see what would happen if they used a gun the way they always see a gun being used on video or TV. And more important, they can get their hands on a gun!

              One of our premier gun researchers, Jens Ludwig, has a long op-ed on CNN about what he calls a ‘surprising solution to gun violence.’ What’s the surprise? Get more adults out in the streets to help kids learn how to deal with stressful situations without resorting to violence the way they do now.

              Guess what? If all those kids who right now can only express their anger by yanking out a gun couldn’t get their hands on a gun, there might be a lot of fistfights on the street corner, but nobody would wind up dead.

              Is this such a difficult concept to understand?