The NRA’s Political Silencer

“You’re using this tragedy to your political advantage.”

That’s the standard line used any time a politician discusses ways to reduce the odds of tragedies like the Batman massacre occurring.

It’s a very effective way to silence all debate, because no one wants to look like they’re insensitive to the victims. The NRA and its supporters know this, which is why they use this rhetorical weapon with AR-15-like speed and repetition.

Well before the horrific Batman massacre, we all realized that America is messed up on the gun violence front.  Yes, guns are a big part of America’s heritage.  But guns are a huge part of Canada’s heritage too, and the United States has six times as many gun-related homicides per capita as Canada does.  In addition, the nations where many American families originated, such as Germany, Ireland, Poland, Japan, and others, have only a fraction as many gun killings per capita.

How can we not ask why?  How can we not try to fix this problem?

Whether the answer is stronger gun laws, enforcement of existing gun laws, better mental health screening, improved mental health treatment and care management, stronger law enforcement, or other measures, we have to be able to talk openly about this now, in this highly educable moment.

So, Minnesota politicians, please, by all means, use this tragedy to further your best ideas for preventing future tragedies.  Don’t wait until the concern dies down.  Don’t wait until the NRA and pundits give you their approval to speak.  Your silence is not sensitive.  Your silence is deadly.


This post was also featured as a “best of the best” on MinnPost’s Blog Cabin.

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