Originally published on November 14, 2017, about one month after the Las Vegas massacre
I would like to say that enough is enough, but I know better. As I write this letter, on the heels of a letter I wrote a few weeks ago after 59 lives were cut short by a maniac in Las Vegas, 26 lives were just cut short by a maniac at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. This maniac, like the previous one, had both the desire and the means to pull off yet another mind-boggling massacre. Many of these victims were young children just released from Sunday school to join the main service. The rest of my letter is unchanged since last month’s mass shooting.
We can’t restrict desire, but we can restrict means. But we won’t. If the little bodies of first-graders in Newtown, Connecticut, aren’t enough to motivate action on keeping weapons of mass destruction — yes, mass destruction — out of the hands of those hellbent on destroying people, then nothing will.
Sure, our politicians will look somber. They will look sad. They will tweet their condolences. They will offer their thoughts. They will offer their prayers. And they will do nothing — absolutely nothing. Nothing will change. We will just wait for the next massacre. And the one after that. And the one after that. And the one after that. And we will hope that our faces, or our loved one’s faces, don’t become the faces that flash before a TV screen as the latest quickly forgotten victim of a massacre made accessible by our American gun lust and the unwillingness to exercise reasonable self government.
We as a society can’t restrict desire. But as a society, we can restrict means. I imagine the responses this letter inspires will illustrate why we won’t. Remember this when the next massacre happens. As it surely will.