We Need to Ask Questions First, Colltalers
Once again, the issue of gun control has irrupted into American homes like a night assault, and the noise generated by the usual efforts to circumscribe it to the ‘loner nut’ theory is not unlike the explosive and disturbingly close sound of gun fire coming from across the street.
So we too are hoping that the national debate that the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado, ignited has a more lasting impact than that state’s devastating summer fires, which usually leave little more than ashes in their wake.
But in fact, even before all those who were killed in the carnage had been identified, the gun lobby had already sent its well-trained drones, and their unwitting allies, to veer the case toward 2nd Amendment issues, and away from any legislative actions.
Which are never forthcoming in these cases, anyway, for most of our elected representatives in Congress are heavily sponsored by the NRA. Sadly, President Obama already bought into the fallacy of the ‘this is not the time’ line of argument, which only helps to put out the fire that could fuel meaningful changes.
The true is, the Constitution provides a context and a set of principles in which to frame the individual’s right to bear arms that could never be applied to a weapon capable of spraying more bullets per minute than the human mind can process decisions.
But we’re sure you’ll hear this and many other variations of the same theme to the point of numbness this week, which may be the point, and soon enough most of everyone who hasn’t been personally affected by such a tragedy will go back to their business of living. And who can blame them, right?
Well, we all can. Because it’s this turn around and go back to whatever you were doing that has been postponing the crucial moment we’ll need to face up to, as a nation, when such an ‘individual right’ will radically conflict with the right of the majority, of living in peace and not being threatened as often by an breakdown of rationally from a person or a group.
That’s why we’re supposed to have laws for. And it’s exactly when airplane crashes happen that we probe the accident, investigate the causes, and improve our chances for that not to repeat. Giving credit to Ralph Nader, no one will ever say that car seat belts didn’t save lives, even though accidents continue to and will always happen.
The reason we’re so pessimist that even this tragedy will make any difference is the fact that we seemed to have lost any ability to have a nuanced debate over anything in this country. It’s either, ‘I’m for it,’ or ‘I’m against it,’ which may be masking a fatal flaw in our way of thinking as a society: ‘no one knows more about this issue than I do, anyway.’
This failure of adding variation to any debate, of enhancing it with a sense of justice, empathy, of enriching it with the testimony of those in the front lines of the issue, has been costing us the ability to act upon pretty much anything.
We complain about congressional inactivity, but we’re quickly becoming a nation of filibusters, who won’t accept the will of the majority, if it threatens to curtail our sense of entitlement, our need to fulfill 99.9% of our personal wishes. Anything less, compels us to gridlock the process and sabotage a resolution.
We still reserve the right of being utterly shocked, though, by what happened in Colorado. As what happened earlier in Florida, and last year in Arizona, and so many more incidents when having an automatic gun did make all the difference, we can’t begin to imagine the ever-present nightmare those affected have been engaged ever since. And will for the rest of their lives.
As only the community around them can offer concrete solace to usher them through this time, any words of ‘sympathy,’ or ‘we stand together,’ and others like it, however sincere and heartfelt they may be, will sound shallow and contrived coming from the nation surrounding them. Specially by elected officials.
As we said, you’ll hear all of that and more over and over again, so we’ll leave it at that. Let’s hope those people find the comfort they need, while the rest of us ask the questions that need to be asked. Start with your own community and stay safe. WC