Emotionally I feel like I’m in the same place as Michael Bloomberg and Forbes magazine. And it is very rare that I feel in sync with a crazy-rich white dude and an inanimate object.
“You know, soothing words are nice, but maybe it’s time that the two people who want to be President of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it, because this is obviously a problem across the country.” — Michael Bloomberg in response to the Aurora, CO theater shooting.
“Tragically, we already know what the candidates are going to do about the easy availability of guns in this country: Nothing.” — Forbes magazine commenting on leadership in relation to the Aurora theater shootings.
When I first heard about the Aurora, CO shootings I reacted similarly to many others. Oh God. That’s terrible. Those poor, poor people. I can’t believe this is happening again. Why does this have to happen at all?
It’s all so familiar. There’ll be speculative minute by minute coverage where everyone is desperately trying to figure out why someone would do something like this. Only there won’t be a satisfactory explanation because there can’t be.
There’ll be candle light vigils and everyone will hug their loved ones extra tight. We will marvel at how the victims, bystanders, and first responders behaved heroically. There will be a lot of talk about how we as a nation won’t let fear rule us – we’ll take care of each other and bounce back.
There’ll be another huge politicized fight about gun control, violence in the media, and whatever other “notable” elements of this particular shooting are unearthed. Costumes in movie theaters? Mental health among graduate students? Who knows? Because, yes, guns obviously play a role in a shooting because it’s a *shooting* but it’s not just about guns. Something large, complex, and extremely fucked up is going on here.
And then in a couple weeks we’ll move on until something like this happens again.
It’s awful that it’s possible to have a “Been There, Done That” element to a massacre.
There have been all kinds of commentary on the Aurora killings ranging from the “Wow! This is why blogs and social media are relevant!” to the “Wow. Just. Um. Wow.” It’s very clear that people care deeply about this and are thinking and talking about it in a way that’s more than just platitudes and soundbites.
But I’m not hearing a lot of that from people who are in a position to effect change writ large, namely Obama and Romney. These dudes have entire political machines at their disposal who can (and irritatingly enough do) clog up the news with stories about dogs, dressage, and who smoked what in college.
Saying stuff like we need to “come together as one American family” (Obama) or “Our hearts break for the victims and their families” (Romney) is true and laudable. We can (and should) come together with broken hearts. But that’s not going to prevent the next mass shooting. And we all know there’s going to be a next one.
Addressing the issue of mass shootings with respect and thoughtfulness is important. It’s also got to be substantively and concretely addressed. And not in a knee jerk “Hey! I must appear to be doing something so let’s ban all costumes in movie theaters EVER! See! I’M DOING SOMETHING!” way.
So enough with the whose flag pin is bigger than whose, Romney and Obama. What are your specific, concrete thoughts on mass shootings’ causes and preventions? You’re vying for the megaphone in the biggest bully pulpit in the nation. Maybe you’ll even get a chance to shape policy. We know Romney signed an automatic weapons ban in Massachusetts and Obama has expanded gun rights at the Federal level. Obviously neither of you can singlehandedly fix this but you can definitely weigh in and people will listen. So… Gun rights? Mental health? Cultural approach to violence? Voters want to know and equally importantly you should have some kind of well thought position on this issue and you’re obligated to share.
This would be an excellent opportunity to get your ZOMG! dogs/dressage/weed guys on something that actually matters. So please do.
We need to get to a place where mass shootings don’t feel so damn familiar. And The Onion is doing a better job addressing this than you guys. Come on now.