In the wake of tragedies like the shooting in Connecticut this morning, the warnings some people float not to politicize the tragedy by starting a conversation about guns or gun control frankly sicken me. This is already a political issue, and has been for decades.
What they’re really saying is, “Don’t politicize it now, because it’ll make us look bad.” They’re only too happy to politicize it in the gaps between tragedies, when voters don’t have dead children on their minds. Then they can oppose even the most minor of regulations with scare tactics about the government taking people’s guns away, or appeals to a gross misinterpretation of the second amendment.
My intention is not to argue that one political party should use this instance as leverage over another. Actually, I think it would be good for gun rights advocates to speak out in favor of regulations at times like these. If gun advocates push for nothing but deregulation and ignore the mounting toll of lives lost to gun violence, public opinion may eventually turn against them, and they will have no say in how the problem is solved. They would be better off in the long term if they got out in front of this issue and advocated for smart reforms that leave room for the rights they care about. That way they would be seen as partners in addressing the problem, and not enemies of public order.
In the end whatever we say is worse than useless if we don’t do what is necessary to protect the innocent. We must have the will to take action, and that will involve politics. So let’s politicize it already and get it over with. Preventing more deaths must be at the center of our focus, whatever it takes.
My prayers go out to the victims and their families.