After the Las Vegas shooting, many are questioning gun control laws and are advocating for change. (Courtesy of iStock)
I am only 25 years old, but I am already too familiar with the cycle of discussion after a mass shooting. The initial confusion and absence of answers opens a vacuum for unsupported speculation. The casualty numbers are firmed up into final, definitive totals. The shooter’s name, history and tentative ideology come to the fore.
The public figures emerge to deliver the canned tears, the hand-wringing,and the pantomime of grief undercut by the unstated certainty that this will all happen again. We will mourn, we will send thoughts and prayers, but shame on the opportunist who would take advantage of this tragedy to try to reduce the risk of future violence.
And the chatter moves on from substance to hot air, discussing the gamut of causes from mental illness to political affiliation to modern media. Finally, the fire burns out, material and interest exhausted until the next crisis rears its head.
I am tired of this, and I imagine most people with a conscience are as well. I am tired of tragedy dressed up as spectacle and the hollow emotional outpouring. I am tired of expecting Republicans to favor weapons manufacturers and insecure gun fetishists over public safety. I am tired of expecting Democrats to offer only piecemeal solutions like the proposed ban on “bump stocks.”
We deserve political representation that has the courage to say the average citizen does not need access to handguns and assault rifles. We deserve leaders who have the confidence to say that the Second Amendment was conceived in a different time, and that the constitution should be reinterpreted or rewritten to suit our current situation.
When we have properly addressed the problem of gun violence in the United States, perhaps then we can grieve. We cannot grieve while the violence continues, while thousands of people die to gun homicides, suicides and accidents every year.
The cycle will continue until we take guns seriously as dangerous weapons that should be regulated, not playthings for living out survivalist and action hero fantasies. The struggle to change the culture and the law will take years, and will take longer than this presidential administration, but it is a goal worth fighting for.
Start a conversation, make a donation or get involved with a group. The choice is up to you, but there is always something you can do to change the world for the better.