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Friday, December 14, 2012

Maybe sight of more than a dozen dead kids will be enough to shake us free of stupid gun control non-debate

The president has to step up on this issue, for sure, to take on the extremes of the NRA.

But so do the rest of us.

Another mass shooting, this time at an elementary school in Connecticut.

This time, maybe 27 people are dead, including maybe 18 little children.

The details will surely change, and maybe even the body count, as more information is released. But one fact remains: This is another mass shooting.

I will admit this: Before lunch, when early reports were that maybe one person had been killed, and likely the shooter, I shrugged off the news. Just another ugly incident, I told myself. Why even bother bringing it up knowing how people will react?

Because we're not supposed to talk about trying to get a better handle on gun violence in this country when there are no mass shootings and just the everyday-run-of-the-mill stuff that keeps us near the top of the list when it comes to rates of gun violence in the industrialized world.

We're not supposed to talk about trying to get a better handle on gun violence in this country when there are mass shootings, which seem to happen on a weekly basis now.

We're just supposed to react in horror and shake our heads and say, "Oh, not kids this time?" and move on, back into whatever corners we'd rather remain instead of dealing with deadly facts.

This isn't about taking away Second Amendment rights. This isn't about politicizing tragedy. This isn't about declaring that strict, not-well-thought-through hyper-gun control is an obvious answer.

This is about watching innocent Americans die again ... and again ... and again ... for what? When 4 Americans are lost in a tragedy in a consulate that wasn't very well protected in Libya - a war-torn country - we scream bloody murder, want heads to roll and talk about launching deep, probing investigations into how it happened, how to prevent it, and even why the White House spoke about it publicly in the way it did.

But when dozens or handfuls of Americans are killed on our soil by other Americans in ways that seem to bring the bloodiest, ugliest scenes from action movies to life, we first try to shut down the conversation before it even gets started.

It makes no sense that we continue doing this instead of probing, deeply, to find ways to prevent these things from continuing to happen.

It makes no sense.

I thought we were better than that. Maybe I was wrong.


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