A map will peg Odessa, Texas, 580 miles west of Galveston County. But after this past weekend’s killing of seven people by an active shooter, the two communities will forever be closer together due to the sharing of a scarlet bond.

Many would say that until this past Saturday, the two communities were as different as night and day, sand and desert, or palm trees and sage bushes.

But now the two share a history of deadly mass shootings — the Santa Fe High School shootings in May 2018 and the Odessa shootings this past Saturday. And neither community will ever be the same again.

The Daily News reports the news. Other than on the editorial page, we work to provide you with fact-based information and invite you to make your own educated decisions on the best course forward. But today, on this page, we need to have a conversation. Something has changed, something is terribly different. Guns have always been a part of Texas culture — for both sport, and protection. But mass shootings of innocent people, no.

We are tired of posting front-page stories of shooters taking innocent lives in the name of nothing more than a joy ride with an assault weapon. Too often, the only motivation seems to be one of mental instability. No one is trying to change the government, no one is trying to take over a piece of land. The only common goal is to create terror and harm as many unarmed and innocent people as possible.

Enough is enough. If we, as a society, do not get serious about this increasingly dangerous trend, more lives will be lost and increasing pressure for stricter gun control may finally sweep across the public. In a nation with gun rights written into the constitution, burying heads in the sand in the face of today’s issue is an insult to those who first penned the words.

A society that only treats these mentally driven actions as outliers is morally bankrupt. High-profile panels of experts or elected officials are useless unless we dare to apply the resources needed to aggressively address the problem.

Here is our call to action:

1. Mental health research needs are supported and promoted. Fund the research and discover the root elements of the motivations to perform these crimes. Simply removing guns will not prevent someone with a mental imbalance from harming others. High-powered weapons are simply the tool of choice.

2. Have a modern-day discussion about the limits of what firepower should be allowed to circulate unrestricted to the public. Compel both sides to come to the table and not get up until a compromise is agreed upon. Politics be damned, this needs to happen.

3. Come together as a society and talk openly about this problem. Simply lowering flags to half-staff and sending condolences is not enough. Until this pierces the armored shell of public discussion, we will never solve this problem. We need this to be in the public discussion and hold our elected officials accountable to leverage the resources afforded to them to help impact this problem.

As much as it pains us to write, there will be another mass shooting reported inside the pages of this newspaper. And with the next tragedy, another community will add a piece of its blood-stained fabric to the quilt representing home towns of mass shootings across our nation.

And as Odessa joins Galveston County’s Santa Fe on this gut-wrenching list, we owe it to the victims to not let their deaths fade into the background of history.

• Leonard Woolsey

(20) comments

Carlos Ponce

There are differences between the Santa Fe and Odessa shootings. The Santa Fe shooter knew his victims. He shot people he went to school with. The Odessa shooter shot strangers as did the El Paso shooter. Your observation, "Simply removing guns will not prevent someone with a mental imbalance from harming others, " is correct. The Santa Fe killer had a back up plan to kill using explosives.Other mass murderers use explosives, knives, automobiles, trucks, vans to kill. Gun control and confiscation minded people think their ideas will result in fewer killings. It will not. No access to a firearm simply means they will use something else.

Mike Zeller

Leonard Woolsey, great article. Some people, "Just don't get it".

Ray Taft

Leonard Woolsey wrote: ‘Compel both sides to come to the table and not get up until a compromise is agreed upon.’

What an incredible statement. It implies that Americans must loose their constitutional rights in the spirit of compromise. According to Woolsey, Americans must loose their 2nd Amendment right to those who want to take them away, because as he also wrote, ‘Something has changed, something is terribly different.’

Let’s take it a step further. While at Woolsey’s modern-day discussion, let’s limit what freedom of the press should be too. The modern-day media has changed, and is so terribly different. It has become a corrupted purveyor of leftist-Democrat propaganda. The ability of the fake news media to spew their lies and fake stories should be limited too. We need to protect innocent Americans from the fake news media that wants to limit our freedom of thought, assembly, speech and religion.

Charles Douglas

I agree with Mr. Taft, 150 percent! I call an Op-ed like this SELECTIVE Outrage! Where were these concerns for Kate Steinle, a beautiful young lady who was out walking with her dad one day in California before being shot in the back by an illegal who had been deported six or seven times, but was welcomed back by the Capital of Sanctuary Cities operating openly and defiantly in this country? Where is all this outrage for the many thousands of youth and old alike, who die annually in places like Chicago and Baltimore, which are Democratic strongholds operated by the same corrupt politicians, who care more about enriching themselves, than doing the people's business? Lastly, so now we are to give up our guns, plastic straws, beef, and start sailing to Hawaii instead of flying,...that it? Question, the people who want our guns, also want a wide open borders, so then if we cannot control illegal drugs, women, kids, or any other contraband from coming into this country, how are we to stop BLACK MARKET WEAPONS from coming in and being sold to anyone who has the money to by one? No, you are right sir, something needs to change, but taking our guns is not the answer. I read about the time back years ago when they wanted to take slaves away from certain people, and what happened? A fight started!

Casey Alan

This isn’t just a mental health issue. It is a hate issue. People are taught to hate. The El Paso shooting was a hate Issue. The Odessa shooting was a mental issue. He was flagged to never have a gun but through loopholes he was able to get one or more. We need to shut down the loopholes. To me that is step one. Step two shut down everything that teaches people to hate. We did not have this problem when Americans were not allowed to buy military type weapons. Look at every shooter all white males. Something is going wrong. I don’t believe one can turn back time. People love their assault weapons. I don’t believe people will turn them over. Let them keep them. Stop future sales and sales of bullets. Then some day it will stop.

Charles Douglas

Casey> "We have a hate issue!" AMEN!!! I agree, because you cannot legislate morality, integrity, character, and love, which ( all of them ) can be used to combat, and control hate, but are learned behaviors! Like Casey, I would ask, what is being done or what are we not doing which affects what are considered to be stumbling blocks to developing intangibles such as integrity, character, and love? Also hope, which is said to be the anchor of an individual's soul? ( Hebrew 6:19 )There exists the problem. Many of the lawless in this country comes from broken homes with no effective upbringing teaching them love and respect for others! Therefore they go outside of the home to find what is available! I was in the sewer of humanity myself years ago, but I had a father who waded out in the GUTTER, took my hand, and pulled me out of that SEWER, AND up to a right way of thinking! Now, people can hardly pray in public anymore in America! Want to change? Lets start there!!

Casey Alan

I believe if we elect officials who do not condone hate. Who speak out against it all the time even at the rallies and on interviews. Who maybe even do public service announcements saying that violence against people who are different than you, is unacceptable. That our constitution says everyone has the right to equality. If the children are not getting this at home they should be taught in school that everyone has the same rights in this country. Even if their beliefs are different than yours even if their race is different than yours even if they love someone that you may not agree with. That shall not hate and I shall not commit murder. Stopping the bullying completely. That it doesn’t matter what country of origin you’re from that we’re all equal. It’s wonderful you had a parent that would teach you these things. Unfortunately not many children do.

Bailey Jones

I wrote a couple of thoughtful replies to your article this morning, mostly noting how conservatives would never allow anything to be done about our mass murder problem. But then I thought, naw - they can speak for themselves. Sure enough.

Dalton Logan

Conservatives????? Are conservatives in control of Detroit, Chicago, D.C., and now Houston?

Bailey Jones

I'm never disappointed.

Dalton Logan

As Jack Webb use to say: Just the facts Mam (Sir).[beam]

Jim Forsythe

Until we change, the results will be the same or worse. We changed the way we fly, which makes flying not as easy as the past. The same will be true with any change in gun laws. "The answers are not easy, and they inevitably involve a trade-off: accepting the unacceptable, or restricting our freedoms. The three big ones are freedom of the press (publicity gives oxygen to these kinds of acts, so restricting coverage will reduce copycats); the right to bear arms (guns don’t cause human evil, but of course they make it easier to carry out); and due process (targeting potential mass shooters, or mentally ill people in general, is possible, but requires us to curtail Americans’ civil rights before they have actually committed a crime).It is by no means clear that any of these solutions would be more effective than the others, and each of them involves punishing a very large number of people in order to stop the evil-doings of a very small number of people."

Jim Forsythe

If you are happy with the way we address the killings, then no discussion needed. If nothing is changed we will continue on the path of 1.2 people killed each day in mass shootings, on average.The number of mass shootings for this year is 297. It will change in the near future, most likely by days end. Below is the numbers for 2019.

Mass Shootings 297

Total number killed 335

Total number wounded 1219

Occurred at a school or university 7

Occurred at a place of worship 2

Shannon Watts ✔ @shannonrwatts

"Don't bother tweeting me that it's too soon to talk about the need for stronger gun laws. It's always too soon in America. For kids shot at Santa Fe High School today, it's too late. 10:13 AM - May 18, 2018."

Mental health care is part of the change needed. We act with surprise when more killing happen as if this new trail of death is the first. Until we address Mental health, we are kidding ourselves that things will change.

Limits placed in the amount firepower, makes since. What do you need for hunting and self-protection, clip size and other issues need to be addressed. ? We already restrict one class of guns( machine guns) and it does not change a persons day to day life in a negative way,

Jim Forsythe

There's nothing today from keeping me from buying a gun legally, and giving it to someone that can not pass a background check. We have laws in place, that we don't use in the way we should. We also have wholes in our laws that need to be addressed, including putting more teeth in the laws that we have, when people use firearms the wrong way.. Most of us do not own a machine gun because of the cost and also being highly regulated makes them impractical for most. Can we have regulations for the guns we have today that does not restrict legal use, and still help in reducing mass shootings ? I think the answer is yes. Below is how we address machineguns and other regulated weapons .

All fully automatic weapons must be registered with the federal government in a central registry with no exceptions. Under the National Firearms Act federal law regulates fully automatic weapons, suppressors, short-barreled rifles and shotguns, and destructive devices such as bombs or grenades. Private civilian ownership of machine guns is illegal unless the individual has been explicitly permitted by the federal ATF to own them. All fully automatic weapons must be registered with the federal government in a central registry with no exceptions.

Don Schlessinger

I must have miss understood, are you telling us fully automatic weapons were used in some of the mass murders that occurred this year? If so please tell us which ones.

Carlos Ponce

The list Jim gives probably came from


Examine each and you will find only a handful where "military style weapons", "weapons of war", "assault weapons" "high capacity magazines" and all those anti-Second Amendment buzzwords were used.

Jim Forsythe

No Don, I did a poor job of trying to say, that we went thru a time when the USA started restricting fully automatic weapons. Now we are at the time that we can take steps like we did in the 30's, or just continue with no change. As far as the guns of today, we do not need to totally ban them, but take a look at how we use them, and what our needs are. Do most people need a AK type of firearm? If so, for what? No matter what we decide as a Nation, some will be unhappy. What would you consider reasonable in the quest to reduce the number of deaths?

Don Schlessinger

Just so we're clear, owning a MACHINE GUN/fully automatic weapon requires a FFL. That license is probably the hardest of all to qualify for. Not only are they hard to get they are very expensive. When a person does qualify for a FFL he/she opens the door of their home for unannounced visits from ATF. That visit can't be refused. It's possible but I seriously doubt we will ever see a MACHINE GUN/fully automatic weapon used in a mass murder.

Bailey Jones

"It's possible but I seriously doubt we will ever see a MACHINE GUN/fully automatic weapon used in a mass murder."

Yes. Because after their use for mass murder in the 1920s and 1930s, they were effectively regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934. We call that effective gun control.

David Smith

All this talk about gun control..

Not one word about proper punishment for those that mass kill

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