The (incorrect) headline blares from the WSJ this morning:
Ex-Sailor's Rampage Leaves Dozen Dead; Stuns Capital
Excuse me? Stunned? As in "shocked and surprised"? Hardly.
The idea that a mass shooting would stun us folks in DC is another example of the (dumb) conventional wisdom that Washington does not understand "Real Americans". Thus, we are "stunned", the thinking goes, when an event similar to Columbine, Tuscon, Aurora, and Sandy Hook crashes through the "Beltway Bubble".
Bull fucking shit.
Washington--more than any other place in the country--has felt the pain of every one of those senseless, preventable massacres.
For every mass shooting, there is a House Member who has met personally with the mothers and fathers of the dead. For every senseless massacre, there are staffers in both the House and Senate who have fought to make sure the victims' families are dealt with fairly by government. After every burst of bloodshed, a pilgrimage to Capitol Hill has been made by families who plead with us to spare others from their fate.
And we want to do just that. Washingtonians--staffers, Members, bureaucrats, and all who serve them--want to help, we try to help, but we are foiled every time by a group of disturbed individuals. These men (and a couple women) also live and work here, but they would never want to be from here. They are denizens of Washington who hate "Washington", and who, more and more, seem to hate people in general. On K Street, on the Hill, and in the Court, these borderline sociopaths are a grave problem.
But don't think for a minute that we Washingtonians have previously felt immune to these shootings. For Christ sake, Gabby Giffords is part of our Washington family! That massacre left a Congressional Staffer dead. We have already felt as stunned as anyone ever could.
On the contrary, Washington knows far too well that until something changes drastically, we should expect mass shootings to come like the seasons.
What does stun us is that people exist who believe that one can reconcile the goal of a safe and stable democratic society with the absolute and unrestricted right to own the tools of murder. But we're getting over our surprise.
More than anything, Washington is pissed.