As we go through the grieving process that follows a tragedy like last week's shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, it seems our society overstays the time in the questioning phase of grief.
Refusing to accept "that" something happens; some keep on asking "why." In the absence of an answer, they angrily demand that someone "do something."
So we find ourselves mired in a ghoulishly predictable blood dances that seems to inevitably follow a tragedy involving guns.
Anti-gun groups blame the tool.
Second Amendment advocates reject emotional demands to "do something" - and again get painted as "uncaring."
Unfortunately, violent outbursts are only symptomatic of fundamental problems that are embedded deeply in areas far more sensitive than the issue of gun rights.
Over the weekend, the Christian Science-Monitor intimated we be overlooking a common factor in the majority of these shootings: most shooters have been males with a distorted view of masculinity.
The CSM characterized them as losers who'd been "emasculated" by society. Their feelings of impotence had proven to be the catalyst for a "toxic cocktail" of frustration.
After these emotional eunuchs had done everything they could to try and fit in, they exploded in a frustrated fury after their twisted psyches tell them the only "appropriate" masculine expression was violence. After all, they'd tried conforming, withdrawing and isolation, and their situations got worse, not better.
The CSM attributes much of that emasculation frustration to changing "societal pressures" - the changing definitions of gender roles, lingering economic woes and the lost hope of upward mobility.
Denied the ability to express themselves in any "manly" positive way -these shooters lashed out with violence, a last-ditch expression of their threatened masculinity.
That assertion concerns me- greatly. Not because I think it's erroneous, but I believe too-many "normal" men face that same emotional crisis on a daily basis.
They're completely fed up with an accelerating downward spiral in our country's values.
Taxes rise while our infrastructure crumbles.
Those who refuse to work demand more from those who do.
Representative officials dig an ever-widening moat between "them" and "us."
We're unable help our worst-case individuals before they erupt because the core issues have been declared off-limits. In military terms explained by Tiger McKee in today's edition of The Shooting Wire, we're unable to get "Left of Bang".
Gun rights isn't our national problem. That's a BIG problem for those who would like to convince law-abiding citizens to willingly disarm.
And when it comes to the question of gun ownership, facts and emotion meet head-on.
Unfortunately, in times of tragedy, emotion trumps facts. A fact those who want an unarmed citizenry are more than willing to use to their advantage.
It's a time-tested technique for forcing change.
Believe in the nuclear family and you're "__phobic."
Object to opening borders to people with no plans to assimilate, but demands that you adapt to their culture- and you become a "hater."
Call a group openly advocating for your elimination "terrorists" and risk becoming a "desperate clinger."
Accepting responsibility for the care and well-being of my own family qualifying me for a list of "extremists" concerns me most.
It doesn't seem extreme to recognize the fact that policemen, firemen or EMS technicians can't be everywhere at once. It seems reasonable .
I've never met a policeman, fireman or EMS technician who didn't advocate my learning some the essentials of their jobs. According to them, my having those rudimentary skills could one day mean survival until the trained professionals could reach me.
Unfortunately, learning and keeping those basic skills encourage something we don't hear much about these days unless there's blame to be assigned: responsibility.
If there were a single - indisputable - fact proving law-abiding people turning in their guns would end these events, I don't think our country has the steel-processing capabilities to handle the flood of firearms that would be given up -willingly.
Unfortunately, proponents of gun-free zones aren't nearly so willing to deal with the "inconvenient truth" that their so-called "safe zones" have proven to be magnet sites for anyone willing to use violence for their brief bit of notoriety.
So the blood dance continues.