While Wayne LaPierre was holding what has to be one of the most bizarre and otherworldly press conferences ever, a crazed man was roving up and down a rural road in Pennsylvania shooting people.
The Blair County district attorney said that four people, including the alleged gunman, are dead after a series of shootings along a rural road on Friday.
The district attorney said the victims are one woman and three men, including the gunman.
Three Pennsylvania state troopers were injured. One was shot in the chest and had a bulletproof vest on; one was injured in a crash; and one was injured by flying debris. All three troopers are expected to be OK.
The scene covers several miles and happened on Juniata Valley Road just outside Geeseytown.
Courtney Brennan of WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh reported that the suspected gunman was “mobile” at one point and went up and down a rural road and shot victims.
Now I suppose we could all just attribute this to another murder-suicide and blame the gunman, not the gun, because that's what the NRA wants us to do. My problem with that is that it happens too often to too many innocent bystanders. In this case, we seem to have someone who decided he could just roll up the road and pick off anyone he could catch in his sight. At this point, the reason for it doesn't really matter as much as the fact that it was easy for him to do. He had the means, motive and opportunity.
Here's what Mayor Bloomberg had to say about the NRA press conference, and this tragedy places an exclamation point on it:
Instead of offering solutions to a problem they have helped create, they offered a paranoid, dystopian vision of a more dangerous and violent America where everyone is armed and no place is safe.
Whatever this gunman's reason was for hunting people down on a rural road and shooting them, it fits the vision of a world LaPierre wants to create. I believe more of us want a different world, where we're not hunting down neighbors and killing them, or fearing a world where we're think we have to make war on a government of, by and for the people.
As a surviving family member of a victim of a rampage shooting back in the 70s when they didn't happen as often as they do now, I am raising my voice along with many, many others to call for some sanity in this debate.
Let's start with the Sunday shows. David Gregory needs to step up and get real on Meet the Press this weekend. No softball interview for LaPierre. Make him answer the hard questions, like why gun dealers get immunity and why LaPierre thinks we should turn our schools into prisons instead of simply enacting some sane gun laws.
This is a complex problem. It won't be solved overnight and it won't ever go away completely. But there are things that can be done to mitigate it and turn the tide away from senseless acts of violence wrought on innocent victims with vile weapons.