By the end of the day, most of us had heard the news — somebody had gone on a shooting rampage at the naval Sea Systems Command and thirteen had been shot dead, including the gunman. But this is the United States in 2013 and though most of us heard the news, most of us weren’t absolutely shocked, weren’t stunned that such a thing could happen here. Unfortunately, we’re getting used to it. This is the way we live now. This is who we are.
The night of the shooting, Rachel Maddow, host of “The Rachel MaddowShow,” pointed out that the Washington Post’s timeline of the 12 most lethal shooting incidents revealed that the first six occurred over a period of 50 years, but the most recent six have taken place in the last six years. “The first half of this awful list happens across half a century,” she said. “The other half-dozen of the worst killings in our history takes only half a dozen years until today. From Virginia Tech to the Navy Yard. The bloodshed of half a century is compressed into this blink of time.”
Nationals Park is just a few miles from the scene of the shooting, and a scheduled game between the Washington Nationals and the Atlanta Braves was postponed because of the carnage. The day after the shooting, the game went on as the teams played a split double-header, and prior to the start of the first game the players and spectators observed a minute of silence for those killed at the naval base. A British newsman from the BBC, broadcasting on BBC America that evening, observed that mass shooting were getting to be as American as baseball.