Every time there is a mass shooting, there is a routine the nation goes through. We are shocked this happened. We mourn, we pray, we gather together as Americans to help each other out. We see the best of this nation come out of our worst tragedy.
During this time, we often hear a simple phrase from our leaders, “Our thoughts and prayers are with you.” That simple phrase is supposed to mean something, showing that our leaders are with us. However, this phrase has lost all power.
To be clear, I’m not saying that prayers don’t work, I know they do. But action needs to accompany these prayers. If we do nothing, if our leaders do nothing, then we are just throwing a cup of water into an active volcano thinking it will calm it down.
I know there is no 100 percent way to end mass shootings, but if we actually want to do something to prevent mass shootings, we need to talk. We need to act. I refuse to believe that there is nothing we can do.
If you think we need more information on mass shootings before any legislation is passed, then let’s get more information. Let’s return the funding that was taken from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention so they can study gun violence.
If you’re wondering why the CDC cannot study gun violence but can study basically anything else that could harm the American people, the Dickey Amendment was passed in 1996 and it prevented the CDC from studying virtually any gun violence.The Dickey Amendment passed due to lobbying by the National Rifle Association according to CBS.
President Donald Trump called the Las Vegas shooting an “act of pure evil” and he is right. But are we willing to do anything to combat evil? Are we willing to do something, anything, to try and stop this from happening again?
This line of thinking always leads to debate on gun control. I know people will be screaming at me, saying things like, “Now is not the time to talk about gun control.” Or “Now is not the time to have any conversation about doing something to deal with mass shootings.” Things like, “Now is not the time, think of the victims.”
But if not now, when, and why do we talk about everything else?
Now, I’m not saying there shouldn’t be time to mourn. I’m not saying that we should jump into the political debate right as tragedy strikes, but we already debate about everything else but guns. Watch any of the main networks during the aftermath of a shooting; they are talking about the race or religion of the shooter. If not race, then the conversation jumps to mental health, but our leaders are not willing to do anything about that either.
For example, just look at Fox News. The day after the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, there were pundits talking on whether or not Muslims should be allowed in the country.
So, when is the right time to actually have a conversation? A week from now? A month from now? There was no real conversation after the shooting in Orlando and since then there have been 521 mass shootings, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The Gun Violence Archive defines mass shootings as 4 or more people killed or injured in a single event.
So while time passes, as we think of and pray for the victims of this tragedy, know that nothing will change. There will always be another mass shooting in the future if we do not have that uncomfortable conversation we have been avoiding all these years.