From the news wire: Today, an 18-year-old Uvalde, Texas, high school student shot and killed 14 students and 1 teacher at the local Robb Elementary School. The shooter also is dead.
Two expressions, now sadly, demonstrably repeatable fill the air.
The first, on its face, admirable, in the light of common human good will, eliciting “our thoughts and prayers” for the dead and the grieving.
The second, on its face, understandable, in the light of the presumed motives of the shooter when terrorism is ruled out as a cause, attributing mental illness or homicidal derangement.
In the light and shadow of this latest mass shooting, there are three things I am not.
I am not opposed to having my thoughts lifted and my prayers ascend. I think of and pray for the dead and grieving, and
I am not predisposed to dismiss mental illness as a precipitating factor in a shooter’s furious, death-dealing act of violence, and
I am not anti-Second Amendment. I am not against private, individual, and socially-responsible gun ownership.
However, I am in favor of gun control, both the stricter enforcement of laws already on the books and the enactment of firmer guards.
Today, in the tortured lifting of my thoughts and the agonizing ascension of my prayers,
I sing a song of the saints of God…
you can shoot them in school or in lanes or at sea,
in church or in trains or in shops or at tea,
for the saints of God are just folk like me,
and I wish – for myself and all still alive – not to be one, too.
© 2022 PRA
 A paraphrase of the 1929 words of Lesbia Scott (1898-1986)