There is nothing that can be said or done to console those who lost so much in Newtown, Conn. yesterday. The children whose lives were carelessly cast aside are Americans whose potential was never given the chance to be met.
No child, man or woman should be a political football — especially in a time of fragility and mourning — but there comes a point when a political conversation is necessary. Having a political discussion and mourning the lives of innocents lost are not mutually exclusive.
We need a national debate on guns.
In the wake of these types of tragedy, nobody wants to talk about the elephant in the room: gun control. My best guess as to why is because the politics of fear are at play again: if someone breaks into your house or attacks you, do you want to be safe? Then you need a gun. The gun lobby and Second Amendment advocates play this card nearly every day.
If we don’t talk about it today though, when will we? Historically, by the time we are done mourning, we forget to talk about it. That is why Virginia Tech followed Columbine. Then came the Geneva Country Massacre, which was followed by the Binghamton Immigration Center shootings. Of course, Fort Hood came next. Then Aurora. And yesterday, Newtown.
We never talked about it.
Our generation endures a culture that glorifies violence. While this culture of violence will have little affect on most, it only takes one to act on the violent urges that society projects upon them. And yesterday, that act came at the cost of the most innocent Americans.
Guns seem to always come at a high cost, but advocates still argue that guns make us safer. Is this country a safer place if everyone had a gun or if nobody did?
This summer, after tragedy struck Aurora Colorado, Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce explained that it was just too bad that no one in the audience of that theater had a gun and could perform an act of bravery to save the day. In this argument, the key to stopping horrific violence is through brave violence. Does Mr. Pearce expect a five-year-old child to be armed and brave in the face of a man whose 15-year seniority took him down a path of derangement?
Yesterday, the same arguments played out over the Newtown shootings. Larry Pratt, the executive director of Gun Owners of America, explained that it is the teachers and adults in need of guns: “Federal and state laws combined to insure that no teacher, no administrator, no adult had a gun at the Newtown school where the children were murdered. This tragedy underscores the urgency of getting rid of gun bans in school zones.”
The world that Mr. Pratt seems to advocate is one where massacres are turned into combat zones. These arguments don’t make sense to me. In a “fight fire with fire” defense of gun rights, the violence is multiplied. In the world where teachers have guns to fight back, students still watch their friends die and still no one is safe.
Interpret the Second Amendment however you want, but if you ask me, it shouldn’t be like this. If the Second Amendment makes it possible for men like Adam Lanza to acquire the means for chaos, then let’s rewrite it.
For far too long these tragedies have struck and we have failed to talk about it. This country faces a crisis of violence that is pervasive and destructive. Until we talk about it — and write legislation to fix it — the crisis will only induce more tragedy.
Adam Silver is a College junior and masters of public administration candidate from Scottsdale, Ariz. His email address is email@example.com and you can follow him @adamtsilver.