Gun violence, especially the kind that seems to provoke no action from Congress, is an issue of particular significance to me. It's hard to think of an issue more important than one that is literally killing us. It's been said quite a bit by conservatives that talking about gun control politicizes a tragedy.
Here's a tweet from conservative commentator Tomi Lahren.
Actually, it's about a another lunatic with gun. (Her Twitter account is very interesting. For instance, she states that we need more Jesus and God re: calls for prayers after such tragedies. You mean the sadistic, jealous, homophobic, sexist God of the Bible? No thanks.)
Here's another similar comment by Senator Marco Rubio.
I largely agree with the sentiment. I'm for waiting for the facts, too. But we've seen this movie before - a lot of times. And there tend to be some patterns, such as the use of the AR-15, or mental illness, or domestic violence. And time and again conservatives say that now isn't the time. With mass shootings happening all the time, it may never be the right time to start to talk about what to do. Further, jumping to conclusions is one matter, discussing the issue in order to figure out how to prevent mass shootings from happening is another. And I can think of no greater way of honoring the dead than to make it our goal, as much as it is possible, that no more innocent Americans die in this manner.
Our high proportion of gun ownership (there are more guns than people here) also seems to be the one factor that distinguishes us from other countries in such a way as to explain the vastly disproportionate rate of mass shootings in America. (We certainly don't have vastly more crazy people than anywhere else in the world. And even if we did, if it were harder to get a gun for some, then mental illness wouldn't be the threat that we have now. True, there might be more stabbings. But I, for one, would choose mass stabbings over mass shootings every time.)
Finally, I want to end with some comments from the actual victims of this violence, including one brave senior who responded to Lahren's tweet.
This survivor is calling for discussion of gun control, as well as mental health. She doesn't seem to think it's too early to talk about this issue.
And this other student expresses similar concerns and calls for action.
Just some thoughts. This has been a freewrite. The issue of mass shootings in America is complex. There is likely not one solution. I'm not calling for a ban on all guns. I believe in gun ownership. But I believe, in short, that we should make it very, very difficult for one mentally unstable person to murder lots of innocent people. Yes, I also believe mental illness is part of the problem. Specifically, I believe we overmedicate people here. And that's largely due to corrupt pharmaceutical companies. It's hard to blame corporations and organizations working within the under-regulated capitalist system we have. But when corporations can influence Congress with their speech (read, cash), it is not surprising that Congress represents them more than us. And we end up paying for it.
Seeing the pictures of the deceased victims is heartbreaking. Makes it much more real. I suggest you do that. I suggest Congress do that. I suggest the NRA and gun manufacturers do that. Another such tragedy will happen. And it won't be long. And the victims won't simply be more statistics. They'll be innocent people: men, women, children. Don't let them down.