SACRAMENTO, Calif. - As Sacramento police investigators pieced together what led to a deadly mass shooting, a wave of political reaction continued to roll in.
From U.S. President Joe Biden to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; and from California Gov. Gavin Newsom to the mayor of Sacramento. Even Warriors coach Steve Kerr weighed in. Each issued a statement condemning the carnage and loss of life, and calling for an end to gun violence.
"We’re all hoping at the end of the day as elected officials, that our actions will save lives," said San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa.
Experts said people of all political stripes suffer from confirmation bias. They view disturbing situations or events through a certain prism and rely on muscle memory to craft their immediate response.
"These moments are not an opportunity for reflection. They don’t give us pause to reconsider based on the facts. Reconsider our position on things. Or the policies that we have. It’s just a moment to restate or reiterate what we already believe," said Dr. Judith Randle, politics of crime expert at San Jose State University.
Because the masses, and their representatives, become caught in a cause-and-effect loop of deadly violence and political outcry, social scientists said change can move at a snail’s pace.
"We see can-kicking, transgenerational problems that don’t seem to be solved in the least. And so what can we be other than frustrated by the events in Sacramento?," asked Greg Woods, a professor in the Department of Justice Studies at San Jose State University.
Politicians, such as Canepa, who’s also running for congress, said shocking events focus attention on policy changes that could stem the problems. But he admitted, changing the sheet music may produce more long-lasting results.
"Maybe what we could do that is better, is rather than just uniformly focusing on gun control," he said. "Maybe the message is focused on the mental health component of it."
There is no right or wrong path. And politicians and experts lament the only certainty is another opportunity to try, after the next incident.