BY MARK Y.A. DAVIES
The only people with the power to do something comprehensive about mass shootings are the people we elect to public office, and the majority of the people we elect to public office not only do nothing, but they actively block anything being done and in many cases vote for legislation that makes the situation demonstrably worse.
These are the politicians who recite the mantra of “thoughts and prayers” after each mass shooting but do nothing to make it more difficult for people to acquire these weapons of mass destruction.
These are the politicians who suddenly become deeply concerned about mental health after each mass shooting but do nothing to actually fund mental health care or make it more accessible for all.
These are the politicians who recite “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” after each mass shooting while totally ignoring the fact that people with semi-automatic assault weapons with high-capacity magazines [and in some cases bump stocks] can kill many more people much more easily than people without them.
These are the politicians who after a mass shooting say things like “if someone wants to kill a lot of people, they will find a way even if we have no guns at all,” while ignoring the fact that for some reason these killers keep on choosing assault weapons as the easiest way to kill large numbers of people and that we try to regulate other means and methods of killing lots of people except when it comes to guns.
These are the politicians who after each mass shooting say we should arm underpaid teachers with guns in the classroom but are unwilling to even adequately fund public education.
These are the politicians who call other acts of mass killing “terrorism,” but if it is a white man with an assault rifle, then they talk about “troubled” people and “lone wolves.”
These are the politicians who say after each mass shooting that it is “too soon” to talk about gun control, which would make it impossible to ever talk about gun control given there are so many mass shootings.
These are the politicians who will do and say anything to keep their coveted A or A+ from the NRA.
But before we simply blame this on politicians, we must recognize that it is we who keep electing them over and over again. We are at the point where people around the world are asking, “When will Americans love their children more than their guns?” – and we don’t have a good answer to the question.
If we keep voting for the politicians who do nothing, who actively do the bidding of the gun industry and the NRA, and who allow these weapons of mass destruction to proliferate in our land, then we are doing worse than nothing to answer this question.
If we are horrified by the mass shootings, but we are not voting at all, then we are doing worse than nothing to answer this question. We are actively blocking anything being done, and that means we really do care more about our guns than our children.
In the end, we the people are responsible for the actions of our politicians, and nothing will change if we do not care enough to change it. Up until now, we have shown that we do not care enough, and that means thousands of more people are destined to have their lives cut short because as a society we care less about them than we care about our guns.
We really do love guns more than people.
– Mark Y.A. Davies is the Wimberly Professor of Social and Ecological Ethics and director of the World House Institute for Social and Ecological Responsibility at Oklahoma City University. Click here for more of his essays.