We all remain saddened at the senseless mass shooting at a theater in Lafayette.
That these incidents occur is sadly no longer in question. The only questions are when, where, who, and which deranged individual with laughably easy access to guns or explosives was the perpetrator.
To have it happen right here in our cozy region of Southwest Louisiana makes it all the more shocking. This is a tightly-knit area. Just about everyone in Lafayette knows at least one of the victims. Even over here in Lake Charles, my wife and I know two of the survivors personally.
The fact that the shooter spent time amongst us all in Lake Charles also makes it even more chilling.
So what now? The predictable debate over guns, with lots of shouting by those who want everyone armed all the time and some who'd like to see a complete ban on guns. Neither is realistic. Extreme ideologies seldom are.
What we'd like to see is the same thing any smart company or organization would do if it faced a similar crisis; a full analysis of all the factors which contribute. In the case of this epidemic: history, culture, politics, mental illness, religion, education, technology and yes, availability of weapons, both legal and illegal. Nothing should be protected or "off the table."
We won't solve the problem of mass killings overnight, but with the right information in hand we can benchmark other nations to see how they addressed the problem and then come up with evidence-based steps toward a long-term solution here.
In the meantime, in the words of one Lafayette blogger, what we all can do right now is to lead by example. Nothing unites like an attack on our shared home. Whites and blacks must stand together. Christians and atheists must fight alongside each other. Young and old must join hands and stand as a barrier against those who would do us harm.
We stand in solidarity with our neighbors in Lafayette, and keep them in our prayers as together we rise above this tragedy to build a better Southwest Louisiana.