As hundreds of thousands across the country marched to voice their anger at government inaction to combat the senseless mass shootings that have taken so many innocent lives in our schools, churches, theatres and other public places, one of your readers wrote to say that guns are not the problem.
First, your reader disparaged the media for “sensationalized” reporting, as if the deaths of 17 high school students and staff in a public high school could somehow be overstated.
Second, he mischaracterized the calls for legislation as an effort “to ban all guns,” so that “only the criminals would have them.”
This seems to happen whenever the public (a vast majority of our citizens, including gun owners) calls for gun regulation.
Echoing the default position of the NRA, the opposition raises the specter of a government poised to take away their guns.
In fact, there are no serious calls to ban all guns.
Moreover, the young man who carried out the attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was not a criminal.
Ditto the murderers at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the Sutherland Springs Church, the Orlando nightclub, in Las Vegas and so many of the other mass shootings.
The calls for action expressed with such passion and eloquence this weekend seek legislation to prevent, or at least limit insofar as possible, those who are unfit or untrained from acquiring guns and to prevent general access to military-style weapons.
Are Americans so different from people in Canada or Australia or elsewhere in the developed world that we have to accept mass shootings as normal? Of course not.
Do Americans lack the intelligence to come up with common sense solutions to halt the violence that threatens our children when they go to school, adults when they go to work or any of us when we assemble in theatres and other venues for our entertainment?
Of course not.
The question is not whether we have the capacity to do better, but whether we have the will to address and solve the problem.
As the young people who spoke Saturday evening at the vigil in Port Washington, from a sixth-grade middle school student to a high school senior, cried out: “Enough is enough.”