As the news of another mass shooting broke yesterday, I watched my feed fill with bits of worsening information. First, it said two people had died and many more were injured. Then, the Texas governor released a statement that 11 people were dead. Today, news reports say the number has raced up to 21 people dead.
It’s horrifying and no words can make it better. James 2.14-17 could be rephrased for this moment:
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have ‘thoughts and prayers’ but do nothing about the plague of violence in our nation? Can ‘thoughts and prayers’ save you? If a brother or sister faces danger, and you say, “You are in my thoughts and prayers,” yet do nothing to keep them safe, what is the good of that? So ‘thoughts and prayers’ alone, if there is no accompanying action, is dead.
We the people have had chance after chance to respond to gun violence. There is low hanging fruit, like universal background checks. More comprehensive options, like banning assault weapons or introducing a gun registry, would save more lives. Still, the public servants we entrust to run our government do nothing. Nada. Not a single thing.
Gun advocates rush to say, “Now is not the time to discuss legislation.” Yet they never suggest a better time. After getting tricked by their wily delays over and over again, it would appear they don’t really want to find a better time to address gun violence. Instead, they brand any discussion of gun safety as “gun control.”
I am unabashedly in favor of strict gun control. Handguns have only one purpose: to shoot people. If we could muster the political fortitude and outlaw all handguns, there would be fewer gun-related deaths. Suicide rates would go down. Homicide rates would decline. Likewise, assault weapons have no place outside of the military.
In places like Kiev, everyone should have access to an assault weapon because they are fighting foreign invaders. In places like Cleveland (or any other place in the U.S.A.), no one needs an assault weapon. The Canadians are not invading, nor are the Mexicans or anyone else. We don’t need weapons of war in private hands.
Now is the time to legislate safety. It would have been better to have done it in 1966 after the University of Texas tower shooting. I believed we as a nation would respond with better gun laws after the Columbine shooting in 1999. However, again and again, we do nothing.
When will we respond?