The aim of these blogs is to present short essays that will give you an idea to consider, if only fleetingly, much like Robert Frost’s belief that a poem could be “a momentary stay against confusion.” So perhaps they’re not equipped to deal with a tragedy of the proportions of Sunday’s massacre in Las Vegas, which to date has killed 59 people and wounded over 520 more. Yet to write about something else seems a kind of a desecration, as does engaging in the same mind-numbing dance in which accusations of “politicizing” the shootings stifle any debate at all.
Yes, these tragedies are a time to come together, and the descriptions of people in Las Vegas waiting in line to give blood and other acts of courage and kindness are heartwarming. But it is also a time to ask the hard questions, and in this country guns is a hard question. “There is not much we can do,” said Nevada’s Governor Brian Sandoval, “but we can learn.”
What exactly can we learn?
Stephen Paddock had 42 firearms in his room on the 32nd floor at Mandalay Bay hotel, from which he fired on 22,000 unsuspecting people who had no idea where the shots were coming from. Do you think that if all those people had guns, as the NRA constantly argues, they would have been safer?
There have been over 500 mass shootings since the Orlando nightclub killings a little more than a year ago, and what have we learned? That we are sorry yet again for victims whose names we do not know and that, as former Congressman Steve Israel wrote, “nothing will change.”
It’s time to stop genuflecting to the NRA and to push for the sensible gun legislation that organization used to advocate.