Archive for July, 2012

Can We Talk?

July 25, 2012

image from KDVR

If this were only a joke. A man walks into a movie theater – armed with an AR-15 rifle, a shotgun and handguns and his home was booby-trapped with a trip wire, explosives and unknown liquids that took a day to disarm and I’m called partisan and disingenuous when I say it is pure evil and we should look into how he was able to come by this cache with the thought of preventing the unthinkable in the future.

The horror of the shootings in Aurora is obvious yet so many talking heads and op-ed writers want us to stay focused only on the individual stories of heroism, cowardice and how the families and friends will be changed. Mention that the event puts into focus difficult issues for America and you get shot down for “politicizing” the calamity. Why is it wrong to discuss the consequences of a tragedy?

I am told now is not time for that conversation. We need to respect the victims’ families and let them mourn in peace. An online friend mentioned a story he read about the potential bankruptcy faced by one of the victims who is uninsured and can’t pay the medical bills. He commented that one injustice was being compounded by another. He was pounced upon for “pushing his liberal agenda.” I can’t help thinking that part of this insanity is not only the shooting, but the price many of these victims will be paying in an emotional and financial aftermath. Shouldn’t we mitigate their pain by making it clear that we, all Americans, will help them with the costs of the medical care? Luckily some have started a fund for this, but not everyone is a Blanche DuBois who can depend on the kindness of strangers.

Why shouldn’t we look at the rules that allowed the legal purchase of these weapons? Rules are important. The Ten Commandments wouldn’t be necessary if folks didn’t kill, covet or take the Lord’s name in vain. No one needs rules or laws until someone is hurt. Every business I’ve been involved with only wrote new policies in the wake of some unforeseen stupidity or situation and it is our outrage that gives us the energy to focus. So when a shooting occurs in a movie theater, school or strip mall and the conversation turns to preventing or minimizing the losses the energy is high and the answer is obvious. We need new rules (or enforcement of existing ones) to prevent certain weapons from getting into the hands of certain people. No one disputes this, not even the NRA. The devil is in the details; the debate is what weapons and which people. This, however, is the fearful slippery slope for the NRA, so we are told to respect the families and let them mourn. Meanwhile our resolve dissipates.

Too bad. If we were to have that conversation and acted with resolve we might reduce or prevent the next Aurora, Columbine or Virginia Tech massacre. The downside might be the headache for the NRA, but no worries – that preexisting condition must be covered under the Affordable Care Act in 2014. There I go again – “politicizing.”