"Imagine if somebody suggested we shouldn't discuss terrorism after 9/11 or fire safety after Triangle Shirtwaist or lifeboats after Titanic," George W. Bush's not-insane former speechwriter, David Frum tweeted on Saturday, before adding satirically: "1502 people have DROWNED! This is no time to insult their memory by asking why there weren't enough lifeboats to save them."
Not to pile on... but it's time to pile on. In just one recent 24-hour period in America:
- Gunman in Sandy Hook School Shooting In Newtown Forced Way Into School; Teacher Hid Kids
- Two dead after Excalibur hotel shooting in Las Vegas:
A gunman killed an employee and then himself Friday night
- Police kill gunman who wounded 3 at Ala. hospital
- Oklahoma student arrested in alleged school massacre plot
And that's just a few of them. Moreover, as Brad Friedman highlighted in memoriam, from Eric Boehlert's tweet Sunday morning: "And yes, in the 48 hrs since the Newtown shooting, more than 160 Americans have died from gun fire; 300+ have been injured."
Yet, just as they did after the mass shooting outside the strip mall in Tucson, AZ last year, and after the mass shooting at the movie theater in Aurora, CO this past July, and after the mass shooting at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, WI this past August, and after the mass shooting at the shopping mall in Portland, OR earlier last week, apologists for the NRA have gone into overdrive after the mass shooting of 7 adults and 20 children at the elementary school in Newtown, CT that took place in a matter of minutes this past Friday, proclaiming "now is not the time" to discuss America's current gun policy because that would amount to "politicizing tragedy".
Those same apologists tell us that any discussion of policy changes that might prevent innocent children and unarmed civilians from being slaughtered must be postponed to some later date that never actually arrives.
Other wealthy nations have developed different gun policies that have drastically reduced gun violence in their countries while still allowing law-abiding private citizens to own firearms. For example, Australia passed strict gun control and access laws in 1996, after 13 mass shootings in 18 years. How many mass shootings have there been in Australia since the new laws passed? Zero. Could we gain insight from gun policies instituted by other governments? Perhaps --- but here in America, land of free speech and home of the brave, we are told we can't discuss it now...
Again, another horror of gun violence explodes on top of the daily carnage of smaller-scale gun violence wrecking lives all across America on any given day. It has become abundantly clear that more guns in America have NOT made us safer, yet the mantra is to attack and scold: "now is not the time."
One tweeter responded this way to a tweet by @TheBradBlog over the weekend...
— Mark A. Green (@MarkGreenFuture) December 14, 2012
So... we shouldn't talk about why America is awash in deadly gun violence because some people might call us "opportunistic jerk[s]"?
If it prevents another massacre of 20 little kids (or anyone else for that matter) ... then, yeah: I'm okay with that.
We don't have to settle for America as shooting gallery. Preventable tragedies of this scale and impact appropriately shake our society into re-assessing our own policies, or lack thereof. Policy outcomes from around the world indicate that reasoned, pragmatic approaches can succeed in reducing gun violence while still respecting individual rights. We can do better. Now IS the time.
As a matter of fact, the time was long ago. Ernie Canning's startling list of mass shootings in the U.S. since 1966 makes that plain.
As several have said once again --- as they have after too many recent similar tragedies --- it's not too soon to talk about what we must do as a nation...if anything, it's too late.