Every time there is a tragedy, seemingly of any kind, there are always those who say, “Now is not the time to talk about this.” They say we should not “politicize” the issue so soon after a tragedy. I disagree. I think now is the perfect time to “politicize” the tragedy. Now, this tragic incident, is the very reason that we even talk about the issue in the first place.
In nearly every other area of life, we expect immediate action. When we hear a news story about tainted food, we expect immediate action to control the situation and prevent people from getting sick. When a person is found to have violated the law, we expect immediate action to punish that person and prevent others from doing the same. When a plane malfunctions or crashes, we expect an immediate investigation and remedy to the problem. People do not want to suffer tragedy, and they expect their government to take steps to minimize the amount of tragedy they must suffer.
Not only do we expect action after such events, but those events are the very reason that we demand action. When we find out there is tainted food in the food supply, we know we do not want that. The fact that it is there inspires us to demand that action be taken immediately. When a crime is committed against us, we know that we do not want that to happen again. The fact that the crime has been committed inspires us to demand action. When the plane crashes, we are directly faced with the reality of the situation, and we demand action. This direct confrontation with terrible tragedy forces us to demand action on the problem.
Human beings need inspiration to act, and the tragedies provide the inspiration. People who have direct experience with autism are inspired to action towards finding a cure. People who have been stricken by cancer are inspired to take action and prevent others from suffering. People with family in the military are inspired to speak out about issues concerning their enlisted loved ones. People who have been affected by gun violence speak out about gun control. The tragedy inspires them to take action.
Without a doubt, our country has suffered a terrible tragedy. Twenty children have lost their lives. No matter the context, that is a terrible tragedy. The tragedy should inspire us to take action. We are not politicizing the issue. We have been touched by a horrible event that demands our immediate attention. We did not respond after Columbine. We did not respond after Virginia Tech. We did not respond after Aurora. Those were terrible tragedies, but this is incomprehensible. We do not want something like this to happen to us.
The only way to prevent this from happening again is to take action to stop it. Each day that we sit around and do nothing is another day when someone who should not have a gun might be able to get one. Each day that we remain silent is another day in which an assault weapon might find its way into the hands of someone who does not need it and should not have it. Each day that we shrug our shoulders and do nothing is another day in which we might have to deal with yet another senseless gun violence tragedy.
Some people may say that now is not the time to talk about it. I say now is the perfect time to talk about it. If not now, then when? If you cannot be inspired to finally stand up and make your voice heard, after this unspeakable horror, then what could possibly inspire you? Now is the time to talk about it. It must be. Speak up and speak out. Write to your congressional representatives and tell them to take action on gun control legislation. Write to your President and tell him how you feel and what he needs to do. Write to your local newspaper and spread the word about what you think needs to be done. Grieve and pray and send your condolences to the families who are truly suffering. But, do not forget to take action because now is the time.