I talked with a young woman today who said there was nothing we could do about mass shootings. When you are in your early 20’s you haven’t known much more than war. You have seen mass shootings increase from a grave anamoly to what is beginning to feel almost familiar even as the numbers go up. What gets reported these days, what qualifies as “newsworthy”? How many people have to die now, or what do they have to say? Do we care that kids are learning to hide from gunmen? A political party seems to want guns in schools, guns everywhere, as their solution.
What makes a shooting different? When twenty 6-7 year olds were slaughtered it was a national tragedy but talking about action was rendered as “not proper” by those who support unlimited gun rights in this country. Those people also made sure no national action was taken. That moment, the slaughter of innocent children, was suggested as a moment of change. Surely this was something that would make a difference. That moment turned to Charleston, there was a moment of silence, there was the President leading us in healing. The forgiveness of those in the church was seen as special. But talking about change was not supposed to happen. It was a rush to judgement. There is a bill pending to stop the Charleston loophole that allowed that killer to get his gun its been a year – there has been no vote. There was a moment of silence. There have been too many moments of silence.
There was a massacre in Orlando. Too many people died. They were LGBTQ, they were Latino, they were American, they were human. There was a moment of silence. what’s different here. Because this murderer said certain words this massacre may get a vote. It won’t be about guns, or change, it will be about exclusion. It will be about hate.
Why is this American killer different? He was in a club with a really powerful gun so he could kill a lot of people. That earns him a moment of silence on the floor of the house, and on the floor of the senate. He said a word though and that gave him a power with some that he doesn’t have that I will not give him. All that he was was a small man with a big gun. He doesn’t get to be more.
Within the United States, the most powerful country in the world, some are saying that we cannot do anything about these massacres. Their argument says that with a law people would find another way to get guns. They say that people will always kill. These guns, the ones that can kill 49 people, injure 53 others, in such a short time amount of time they aren’t supposed to be on the table. That’s what the Republican’s will all tell you. Restricting anything related to guns is not going to solve the problem. They have been easing the laws though and we see more mass shootings not fewer. They won’t mention that. They just say that every body should have access to all guns and changing that won’t make a difference.
Since when did America say we have a problem that we can’t solve. How hard is it to not sell weapons of war on main street? A civilized society accepts reasonable accommodations for the safety of all. Thirty three thousand people a year die from guns. Yes, 49 people died in one place, yes that is tragic, it is horrible, it is senseless. Nothing will stop everything but if that person had a handgun that shot a few bullets at a time, fewer people would have died. If he had a knife, or a rock, what would have happened?
We can’t give up. There is hope. There has to be. We need votes not moments of silence. We need action not inaction. We can’t say the bad guys are there and they will win anyway so we’ll just give up now. That isn’t what the United States does. We are better than this. We have hope. We are stronger together. We always have been.