Jelani Cobb in Time Magazine:
May, a month we traditionally associate with spring, Mother’s Day, and graduations, was defined this year by a far different rite: funerals. In a single ten-day stretch, forty-four people were murdered in mass shootings throughout the country—a carnival of violence that confirmed, among other things, the political cowardice of a large portion of our elected leadership, the thin pretense of our moral credibility, and the sham of public displays of sympathy that translate into no actual changes in our laws, our culture, or our murderous propensities. In the two deadliest of these incidents, the oldest victim was an eighty-six-year-old grandmother, who was shot in a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York; the youngest were nine-year-old fourth-grade students, who died in connected classrooms at Robb Elementary School, in Uvalde, Texas.
In the interim, there were other mass shootings, in Indiana, Washington State, Florida, California, Louisiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and elsewhere. Less than one per cent of gun deaths in the United States are the result of mass shootings. But the data are less salient than another element of the month’s tragedies: the images posted of the children who died, many of them smiling, blithely unaware of the flawed world they were born into. The knowledge that they are no longer alive—that any future iterations of those smiles have been permanently forestalled—is an indictment that we all have to live with.