Our politicians make sycophantic speeches and announce that “something must be done,” but decide it must not be by them. Our Congress and the president are ostensibly waiting until the numbers get high enough, unconcerned that while scores are killed, millions live in fear. Guns don’t kill people, it is said, people kill people. So we blame the mental health issues of treatment—in itself important—that they cite, blithely overlooking that people with weapons kill considerably more than people without. As Montel Williams pointed out, we are more concerned about where kids go to the lavatory than whether they are in mortal danger.
We surrender to the reasoning that control of guns would not control all guns, and besides, even without guns we will not have eliminated the ability to intimidate and kill. That’s a true, but useless point. We might similarly contend that we should not have speed limits, since even with limits some drivers will endanger others with speed. The ways pro-gun forces can find to justify an armed America are legion.
The bloodbath does not go unnoticed, of course. A short-lived response always occurs, each looking like the last. We’ve become addicted to smarmy statements and calls for prayer as substitutes for productive action. We are satisfied with hand-wringing and “this is not the time for politics.” We accept the NRA’s clever claim about “good guys with guns.” Apparently, the problem is that we still don’t have enough good guys with guns. Must we station these good guys in every classroom, on every street corner, outside every church, synagogue, and mosque? Maybe the NRA and the politicians who accept its money are right; maybe to curtail the mayhem and the fear, we must further make America an armed camp.
Hiding behind the Second Amendment seems to satisfy us. There’s nothing that can be done, it is said, since the supreme law of the land guarantees the right to have firearms. The gun lobby and its political beneficiaries take that to mean almost any kind of firearm, even weapons of war, with fewer impediments to acquire than in getting a driver’s license. Politicians indebted to the NRA and the warlike among us quake at giving offence to the powerful guns-at-any-cost lobby, so much so that the mildest of possible solutions are politically blocked. Your senators, congresspersons, president and mine, stand idly by offering condolences instead of action. Thereby, we excuse that which is inexcusable, and thus ourselves become part of the problem.
Accountability has become one of our favorite words. Just uttering it looks responsible. But in politics, appearance is enough. I live in Georgia, so I hold Senators Purdue and Isakson responsible, along with Georgia’s Representatives. They are integrally part of the carnage. They bear responsibility for dead kids and faculty this week in Parkland. They didn’t need to pull a trigger, for they are comfortably insulated from the killing of which they are a part. NRA is more to be represented than grieving parents and dead or frightened children.
Am I being unfair? If my words constitute unfairness, then accountability means nothing. My possible unfairness to political leaders doesn’t come close to the unfairness of those empowered to act, but who do not. Their sentimental statements save not a single child from the weapons they are responsible for loosing upon the country. My representatives in Congress are not alone, of course. I starkly point them out and name names, for it is otherwise so easy for those who represent me—as for those who represent you—to distance themselves from the killing. I urge you shout out names, not to let yours off the hook, for they apparently believe that we just don’t have enough dead kids yet.
In their passive and unctuous way, our Congress and our president are killing our children.