this.) How many of us have even registered the latest incident in Sparks, Nevada? Among my Facebook friends, I was the only one who made a comment about it Monday, and that was to link to the story as it was happening and the comment that it had become the "new normal," a knee-jerk reaction on my part to the number of almost-weekly incidents.
This is what we know so far. A seventh-grade student at the middle school in Sparks showed up for school with a Ruger 9mm semiautomatic pistol that police believe he brought from home and shot another student outside the school in the shoulder. Mike Landsberry, a math teacher at the school, ran to confront the student and was himself shot. The student then shot another 12 year old in the abdomen before shooting himself in the head. Landsberry and the shooter died at the scene, while the other victims are expected to recover. The district attorney's office is considering charges against the shooter's parents for access to the weapon.
As has also become distressingly normal in these situations, the amount of information we have available in the days immediately after they happen is also slight. In an era of 24/7 news, in which the new normal is to turn on CNN or Fox or go to a website for information as soon as we hear of something, the frustration we feel when someone tells us "We just don't know" in response to the natural question why did a 12 year old boy shoot other children at his school is also the new normal.
Many of us thought, after the shootings in Newtown, that substantive actions would be taken to curb gun violence. They were not. One interpretation of an individual's Constitutional right has been allowed, through inertia and incredible financial backing, to trump public safety. Mounting numbers of dead from school shootings is not the new normal. The new normal is our willingness to accept them.
UPDATE: This is the situation to which CNN's Breaking News alert referred.