(The views expressed here are my own.)
“Today is not the day for a debate over gun control."
You’ve probably read that on your Facebook or Twitter feed in the last 24 hours. The source likely a politically conservative friend or someone from TV you follow or both as were my case.
You know what I have to say for the people saying that today isn’t the day for a debate or talk about gun control? Then stay quiet and let the grownups do the talking. Yeah, I said it. Grownups.
I don’t mean grown ups in the sense of people 18 or 21 years of age and older. I’m not even talking about people in their 30s, 40s, 50s and up. Nope. I’m talking about the people in America who grew up with society like the rest of us. You don’t need to be deep in the years to realize that America’s gun laws benefit these mass shooters more than they benefit kindergarteners or moviegoers.
If you’re still stuck back in the Jim Crow era, then you haven’t grown up yet. “Oh, here he goes with some diatribe about the shooting in Connecticut and how it relates to racism…”
I can already see some people rolling their eyes now. I can already see a subset of the readers of this post missing the very point I’m about to make because they see me not as someone with a worthy perspective or viewpoint but as someone with brown skin. Someone who checks the “African-American” box.
Like I said, we’re not dealing with a lot of grownups here. They’re immature like the society they think they live in. Only we live in a fairly mature society.
We live in America. There remains a plethora of challenges and ongoing plight for millions in this country, but by and large our nation has matured significantly through its short lifetime. We are seeing more signs of a maturing nation through our acceptance of people of difference creeds, colors, religions, and appearances and, most recently, sexual preferences.
But, but but…there is a very vocal minority of conservatives trying to stomp out that maturity and push us back into our childhood as a nation. They have Twitter followers and Facebook likes and bully pulpits by which to project their messages. They bully us to be quiet and mourn these tragedies in the manner they choose.
In our childhood, we can blame immaturity for not knowing right from wrong to the fullest extent. The same goes for America’s childhood. Do you know what happened? The United States of America matured.
Even after slavery, when black women were raped, black men and boys beaten, and black children prevented from living equal, healthy and opportunity-filled lives, America had to mature. And, thankfully, it has. It was a long and hard road, but the maturation process helped this country get through its darkest period ever. No pun intended.
When those black women were raped, those black men and boys beaten and black children forced to live in unequal conditions, do you know what a few people said?
“Now is not the day to talk about Civil Rights.”
I can’t even pretend to count how many unfortunate and violent situations (Columbines and Auroras in their own right) had to occur before those conservatives finally realized that they needed to shut the hell up and let America move forward with or without them.
They say this day should be for prayer and hugging our children and wishing well to the victimized families, and not for debate about gun control. OK. So what about tomorrow? Oh, that’s still too soon. OK. So what about a month or a year from now? OK, now we’re talking?
Well the problem with that logic is that the parents of those children and families of those dead teachers may still be mourning and needing our prayers a month or a year from now.
Please, sirs and madams, recommend a good time for us to conclude this period of silence that you call for and actually get to the difficult, but much needed task of demanding better gun legislation from our elected officials?
Our history as a nation, as the Lincoln movie recently depicted, is marked with a struggle between the great leaders who understood the need for change and maturity and weak men in powerful positions whom wanted nothing more than to maintain the status quo no matter how many millions of people stood to be impacted by their ignorance and immaturity. I can’t even imagine the kind of Twitter following conservatives would have had back then.
“Today is not the day for a debate about gun control.”
If that’s how you feel, you’re fully entitled to that feeling. You don’t have to join the debate. We don’t need you. Heck, it’ll surely make it a lot easier for the nation to mature, move forward and do what needs to be done to improve these ridiculous gun laws that make it customary to turn on the TV and see a suburban town in Colorado, Missouri or Vermont to be terrorized by someone who had a field day at the expense of some 5-year-olds finishing their first semester of more than a decade of schooling ahead of them.
As for me, I plan to join the millions of Americans who are calling upon elected officials at the state and federal levels to tighten up our gun laws. I honestly believe that mental health is quite possibly a key culprit in these happenings as well, but gun legislation is where our Congress can most quickly put a plan in place to make sure we don’t have another Columbine or Aurora or Newtown.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legendary book, “Why We Can’t Wait” speaks to the reasoning by the Civil Rights Movement and answers conservative critics whom called on America to wait…just wait before trying to do anything about Civil Rights.
If Dr. King were alive today, I truly believe he’d be fighting just as hard to tell these so-called 2nd Amendment advocates and staunch conservatives to sit down, listen (actually listen) and let America mature.
They may not be ready for the debate, but this country and our children need it.