Just as the spring ushers the beginning of baseball and the hope associated with it, America has embraced a more dreadful tradition that appears more frequently than the annual commencement of the national pastime.
Beyond the intended purpose, elementary schools, movie theaters, Sikh temples, shopping malls, military posts, naval shipyards, congressional town hall meetings, as well as other innocuous locations have become the place of unspeakable gun violence.
Moreover, the predictability that President Barack Obama has been summoned to help a community makes sense of absurdity is becoming so commonplace the nation is increasingly desensitized with every tragedy.
On the heels of each catastrophe, one can be assured of the predictable talking points. The National Rifle Association will insist on the need for more "good guys" to be armed. Some well-meaning legislator will suggest that he or she does not have enough votes to pass reactionary legislation, and the president will tell the nation that we cannot continue on this brutal path.
These circular arguments lead to an inevitable stalemate, where gun violence is only discussed in the reactionary context of some heinous crime.
In his recent remarks, the president stated:
"We Americans are not an inherently more violent people than folks in other countries; we are not inherently more prone to mental health problems. The main difference that sets our nation apart, what makes us so susceptible to so many mass shootings, is that we don't do enough, we don't take the basic common-sense actions to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people."
But what exactly does that mean? With a ratio of 94.3 guns per 100 residents, firearms are a part of the American ethos; the periodic acts of sensational violence should be expected.
The reactionary state of any gun violence discussion is insulting to those of us who live in urban America. Every proposal put forward in the aftermath of a sensational gun crime does nothing to curb the gun-related violence in urban America.
How often do members of Congress, or for that matter, the president himself, weigh in on the absurdity of gun violence that besieges urban America? The president did speak about the death of Hadiya Pendleton, the 15-year-old Chicago student who performed at his inauguration one week before being mistakenly gunned down in a spray of bullets.
How many urban cities have a similar story that details how a young child was shot while sleeping in bed?
In urban cities, the unregistered firearm presents more of a problem than any of the solutions offered to limit magazine clips. One of the individuals arrested for the Pendleton murder was already on probation for carrying an unregistered firearm.
Why can't there be a mandatory 25-year prison sentence for possession of an unregistered weapon?
The failure to address unregistered firearms is reflective of the power in the argument offered by Second Amendment proponents who have both feet planted in the "right to bear arms" portion, but are unwilling to embrace the "well-regulated" side.
There is no credible way around it; "well-regulated" as it appears in the Second Amendment means government has a role in the gun debate.
Those who cite the fallacious argument that the Second Amendment was put in place to protect the people from government would be well advised to research the difference between Shay's Rebellion (1786) and the Whiskey Rebellion (1791).
The pace of the current argument suggests it is impossible to strike a common-sense approach that reduces gun violence, both the sensational as well as what plagues urban America, while maintaining the rights embedded in the Second Amendment that protects law-abiding citizens.
If we can have a well-regulated Department of Motor Vehicles, surely we can have the same when it comes to responsible gun ownership.
Contact Byron Williams at 510-208-6417 or firstname.lastname@example.org.