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What's next after Orlando? More tests of our sensibilities and resilience [Editorial]

Stop talking, start thinking.
Stop talking, start thinking. (Chelsea Carr for The Aegis / Baltimore Sun)

Orlando, Fla., was as likely a place as any for another violent act to attack our sensibilities.

When news broke Sunday morning of the slaughter of 49 people at the Pulse nightclub, we all were left wondering what next?

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And the simple answer is we don't know, but we know it's not good.

In Harford County, there have been too many acts of violence that have left us struggling with our own questions of why. Most notably, and most recently, the murders of two Harford County Sheriff's deputies responding to a call of a suspicious person in a Panera Bread eatery in Abingdon has been inexplicable.

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No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, on gun rights, on religious freedom, on immigration, on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender – more commonly referred to as LGBT – matters, what happened Sunday is not anyone's view of the American Dream.

The Pulse nightclub is a long established bar catering to the gay community. It doesn't matter the sexual orientation of those murdered. They were 49 Americans shot to death by another American, who reportedly pledged his allegiance to ISIS, the heinous Islamic group.

Despite efforts to do so, there's no easy answer to why this happened, nor are there easy steps to preventing it.

We've been fortunate that terrorism has yet to make its horrific presence physically in Harford County; however, several of our residents and their loved ones have been the victims of terror attacks from the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988 to the 9/11 attacks in 2001 to the Fort Hood shootings in 2009, not to mention those who have died overseas in the service of our military fighting the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Make no mistake about it, there are disenfranchised people, just like the Orlando murderer, living among us. Could there be one capable of fomenting such terror? Absolutely. Will it happen? That's unknowable.

What is knowable is that there's an ounce of prevention available to all of us by simply knowing or paying more attention to those around us – our family, our friends, our co-workers, our neighbors – and being attuned to attitudes and/or behaviors that could portend such evil. And, don't be afraid to share that information with the authorities.

In so many cases of terrorism or other mass violence, someone knew the perpetrator and wasn't surprised by what they were accused of doing. If someone had spoken up, maybe lives could've been saved.

Let us stake out this position, which we're sure will please few in Harford County: Passing more gun laws as a way to stop these senseless killings is a non-starter. There are too many guns in circulation, in the hands of the law-abiding as well as the law-breaking citizens, for any such additional gun control legislation to succeed.

That worn out back and forth that guns don't kill people, people do, is no longer relevant to the discourse on guns.

It's clear that someone, somewhere might have survived one of these mass shootings, if there were fewer guns.

It's equally clear that outlawing some, some kind or all guns isn't going to prevent mass killings. Too many lives were lost years ago in the Oklahoma City bombing. There are other examples that show people will still find ways, without guns, to kill other people.

One can hope that those against guns and those for guns will realize that despite their differences, they do share at least one common goal – keeping people safe from gun violence.

When that happens, and those opposing sides start fighting on the same side, chances improve that those who should never have gun that would allow them to commit mass murder, won't get them in the first place.

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