Some gun-control advocates maintain that in the wake of the Newtown slaughter, we should wait until all of the facts are known before debating the issue of gun control. Wrong.
Now is exactly the time to engage in this debate for the simple reason that if we wait for the “dust to settle” (as we always have in the past), the issue will once again fall prey to the pervasive political cowardice on both sides of the aisle that has for decades muted serious dialogue and blunted serious regulatory measures related to gun control. This issue, like 9/11, requires immediate and careful action. Make no mistake, our nation is under threat from terrorists abroad and within.
Neither can we afford to let the media attention run dry. Like it or not, the American public is a fickle consumer of media events and will quickly move on to the next “crisis du jour.”
The horror at Newtown, I believe, should go down as one of the defining moments in American history . . . much like Pearl Harbor and 9/11. The perversity of gun-inflicted violence in America and the broader conditions within our society that led to Newtown has become our most precarious national security issue and is a festering symptom of a much deeper social “disease” that has infected all corners of our country, paralyzed our political representatives, and now, most tragically, held that which is most sacred and precious to us all, our children, hostage to the cruel reality that no place is truly safe.
Rightfully, there are a number of important issues and arguments that will once again capture the public discourse; e.g., school safety measures, mental health care, gun control, a violent culture, etc. There are no easy answers to any of these issues, except one. The status quo must not continue and waiting won’t help.