When Bob Costas did his now famous gun-control segment on Sunday Night Football a couple of weeks ago, he was roundly criticized for speaking out of turn, for being inappropriate, and for politicizing a tragedy too soon. Of course, his actual crime was making a thoughtful point about gun control at halftime of an NFL game with 20 million people watching. No no no, the NRA and their staunch contingent of gun rights activists would very much like all talk of gun control to take place on C-SPAN 3 with 12 and a half people watching, or behind closed doors between a Congressman and a lobbyist for the gun manufacturing industry.
It’s time to stop falling into that trap. To the people who want the status quo to continue, it will never be the right time. While its barely been 48 hours since the horrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut, it’s been 105 days since the Sikh temple shooting in Oak Creek Wisconsin, 136 days since the movie theatre shooting in Aurora, Colorado, and 4977 days since Columbine. Is it okay to bring up gun control in response to those tragedies yet?
I didn’t agree with everything Costas said that night, but the smartest point he made was about the old cliche we always hear during tragedies. How they “put things into perspective,” yet nothing ever actually changes. Well we’ve had enough “perspective,” and to the people keeping the victims of Newtown in your thoughts and prayers, I love you, but we’ve had enough of that too. This is not a problem we can hope and wish and pray away.
Here’s a link to find your member of Congress.
If you want to see real reforms to our gun policies, please get in touch with them, whether it’s bringing back the federal assault weapons ban, limiting the rounds in a magazine (which would have saved lives during the Gabby Giffords shooting), mandating that gun dealers have to report large ammunition sales to the FBI (which may have helped catch James Holmes before his shooting spree in Aurora), or investing more in mental health care and requiring mental health evaluations before all gun sales. If you have an idea that you think will help, make your voice heard, because for every email, phone call, and hand-written letter that members of Congress receive, they assume there are five more people just like you thinking the exact same thing but just too lazy to speak out.
The time for action is now.