I awoke today to another report that a shooting happened in Columbia.

Allegedly, individuals in two cars engaged in a gunfight on southwest I-70 near the Stadium exit.

Currently, the police believe that the occupants of the vehicles knew one another.

The preliminary report stated that two individuals sustained non-threatening gunshot injuries. Fortunately, no one else was injured.

As I listened to the news report my heart broke, again. What if some innocent family member driving along I-70 had of been struck by a stray bullet?

What if it had hit some child?

Living in Columbia has given many of us a false sense of security. We feel immune from danger.

Domestic terror is a reality for other places, like Texas, Florida or Ohio, but not here.

Too many Columbians believe that violence only happens in “those communities.” This incident painfully reminds us that it can happen anywhere.

One fact is undeniable: Bullets are equal opportunity destroyers. They can kill anyone.

They are not influenced by whether you are white or a person of color. They will kill a person who is straight, a member of the LGBTQ community, Republican or Democrat, male or female, atheist or theist.

Money, education and occupation cannot stop a bullet from killing. Clearly our political utterances have not curbed the problem.

The problem is not Republican or Democratic. It is not conservative or liberal. It is an American problem.

We are at war with ourselves and the core of our common good is being threatened.

When did our disregard for human life become so prevalent?

We live in a society where we are willing to kill one another over any disagreement. The easy answers are that the violence we are experiencing is due to either drugs or mental illness.

Indeed, these are components of the problem but fail to explain the phenomenon fully.

Do we hate ourselves so deeply that we are willing to kill others so readily?

I remember while at Princeton hearing the great George Hendry lecture on the death of the Roman Empire.

One phrase that has always stuck with me is his comment that the Roman Empire did not fall because of enemies outside its borders. It fell because of enemies within.

I wonder if the enemies in our society are more of a threat to our survival than any enemy outside the U.S.?

We cannot avoid the fact that it is too easy for anyone to acquire a gun. We need reasonable gun control.

I do not want to restrict responsible people from possessing a gun. I want to stop irresponsible folks from having a weapon.

No ordinary citizen needs a weapon that fires 100 rounds or more.

I know common sense is not common, but surely, we can agree that something dramatic needs to happen.

There have been too many mass shootings as well as too many isolated shootings.

All of them endanger us. All of them need to be stopped.

As Americans we must end the violence for our sake, for the sake of our children and for the sake of this republic.

About opinions in the Missourian: The Missourian’s Opinion section is a public forum for the discussion of ideas. The views presented in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Missourian or the University of Missouri. If you would like to contribute to the Opinion page with a response or an original topic of your own, visit our submission form.

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