Anyone expecting national consensus to come from the death of five community journalists in Annapolis will be sorely disappointed. We can’t even agree on the question, let alone the answer.
If there were going to be agreement on what to do about gun violence, it would have come after the death of school children in Newtown. If we could reach a common ground that mental health was the problem, we would have found it after the murder of movie patrons in a theater in Aurora, Colorado.
If we were going to meet someplace in the middle on assault-style weapons, surely it would have been after the gunfire stopped at a country music festival in Las Vegas. There isn’t even concurrence on what language to use to describe the weapons.
Five journalists were killed in a rampage that will change forever what it means to be from Annapolis. This can’t be undone. We’ll be the headline until the next mass casualty caused by insane anger or hate or illness or whatever it was that motivated Jarrod Ramos.
Annapolis always will be that place, the site of a horrible death for five good people.
We can’t speak for Rob Hiaasen, Gerald Fischman, Wendi Winters, John McNamara or Rebecca Smith. We can’t speak for their families.
We can only hope they will agree with this simple statement: This madness must stop.
Let’s find a way to stop people who wander in and out of the attention of authorities, terrorizing people along with the way with hateful behavior — but never quite crossing the line into something that would lock them behind bars or place them safely within the care of a psychiatric hospital.
Our society has to be capable of surveying the long and growing list of victims of mass shootings and come to grips with a pretty straightforward idea: A mounting death toll is not a price we’re willing to pay for putting the Second Amendment above all other freedoms.
This newspaper is not wise enough to figure this out. So we’re calling on people smarter than us to help Rebecca, John, Wendi, Gerald and Rob.
To Gov. Larry Hogan: We challenge you to use your unique position as the moderate Republican governor of a Democratic state to take the lead. Please, help ensure there are no more Ramoses, someone who harassed people for years — people who found no adequate way to stop him.
To House Speaker Mike Busch, state Senate President Mike Miller and Attorney General Brian Frosh: Set aside partisan politics, even during this election, and help the governor make this happen.
It’s a pretty big mission, we know. It won’t be easy. We can’t offer many suggestions.
But there is a simple reason why you should take on our challenge. Lives depend on it.