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Fecteau: Talk About Gun Violence

Tuesday, October 03, 2017


While the details of this latest mass shooting are still being reported, this is clear: a madman killed at least 58 people and wounded another 500 wounded in a shooting at the country music festival in Las Vegas. In response, President Donald Trump ordered U.S. flags to be flown at half-staff and issued a boilerplate retort, saying there's a time for discussion on gun violence, but not now. This latest mass shooting is of historic proportions; supplanting the Orlando nightclub shooting as the worst mass shooting in contemporary U.S. history.

Despite what you may hear from the White House, now is the time to talk about gun violence. Mr. Trump is paraphrasing the same line predictably regurgitated by our elected officials: “Now is not the time to talk” to talk about gun violence. At least this time, he used a variation of the line instead of insulting us with the exact same verbiage used repeatedly. These cheesy, boilerplate lines would be utterly laughable if not so completely tragic in the face of such pervasive gun violence.

There is a reason for such tactics. The gun industry and its allies generate these generic lines to pacify the masses just long enough for the people to forget and move on until the next mass shooting – sometimes even more tragic than before. Then, of course, like clockwork, another mass shooting takes place and they use the same tired lines again (wash, rinse, repeat).

The gun statistics in the United States are grim and disgustingly nauseatingly tragic – no talking point will change that. We are the only industrialized where its citizens are twenty times more likely to be harmed by gun-related violence than any other industrialized country in the world. Nearly 300,000 Americans lives have been lost to gun violence in the last decade – compared to only 80 Americans killed by terrorism. Since 1968, more Americans have been killed by gun violence than all wars fought by Americans.

We can take viable steps to deter such horrendous gun violence in the future, but we have to have sincere dialogue. When simply resorting to cheesy talking points to delay action on gun accessibility with the intent of preventing action, we only contribute to an environment ripe for exploitation by our enemies, and the mentally deranged.

This is not the price of freedom, and gun violence certainly can be prevented, but we just need political courage to have that discussion especially in Congress. If now is not the time to talk about gun violence, when?


Matt Fecteau ([email protected]) is a Master of Public Administration candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and an Iraq War veteran. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewFecteau


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