No, It Is Never Too Early To Politicize A Mass Shooting

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Last week, approximately 30 miles north of my house, a shooting in Saugus High School killed three students, including the shooter, and injured three others.

I am a casual acquaintance of the mother of one of those injured.

This past weekend, nine people were shot and several died at a family gathering in Fresno, California. The following came over one of my news feeds as a bulletin:

This morning, a notification appeared on my iPhone as I was perusing emails: “Possible Mass Shooting at a Walmart in Ohio. This is a developing story.”

Five minutes later: “Two men and one woman die in Walmart murder-suicide.”

Let’s call these last several days for what they are not: They are not, tragically, out of the ordinary.

Writing from Anger

A friend posted the above lead-in graphic on Facebook. It fits.

I tend to react viscerally, as many do, when a new shooting hits the news. I posted the following articles on this platform just a week ago:

A decade ago, I executive produced a film called “April Showers,” based on the Columbine High School shootings. I pulled it from circulation in recent years, as I believed keeping it available was irresponsible in light of the shootings playing out in real life on a near-daily basis.

According to the below article, there have been 369 mass U.S. shootings so far this year. See this 2019 list so far, ending with the Saugus tragedy: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/mass-shootings-2019-more-mass-shootings-than-days-so-far-this-year/

As a writer who is neither a journalist nor a media employee, I find it a responsibility to share both information and my personal state-of-mind when editorializing about such sensitive events.

Am I biased? Damn right. My anger will not be contained, and neither should yours.

Have I overreached in some of my writing? I have. I was particularly criticized in the second article above — “The Second Amendment: Do You Really Have a Personal Right to Bear Arms?”— for drawing a conclusion that others said was “obvious,” and “already on the books.” I never argued the point.

In fact, I included it: In the landmark 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller decision, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that all citizens comprise a de facto militia. Therefore, the Second Amendment indeed expresses a protected individual right that allows for any lawful claim of bearing arms for self-defense, and both open and concealed carry are generally viewed as equal individual rights within those states that formally allow them both.

I do not in any way regret writing the article, which I composed from the perspective of many on my side of the equation arguing about the Second Amendment’s wording, in particular disputing the meaning of the term “well-regulated militia.” Despite what Attorney General William Barr says, liberals, such as myself, are not “against the rule of law.” Truth is, however, that many of us have taken issue with the Amendment’s wording bereft of knowledge of the Heller decision.

For one, I was guilty. Until I researched my story.

None of which matters (for this purpose), however. None of which will curb the next immenent round of senseless murder.

The GOP and Gun Control Reform

Mitch McConnell and his brethren have continually blocked gun reform. “Thoughts and prayers” are offered following every incident, the conversation begins anew as national outrage grows … and, as ever, not a thing happens.

Crickets.

This is not okay. Few are looking to take away everyone’s guns or rights of self-protection, few are looking to make purchasing new guns illegal.

Both options are defensive talking points based more in paranoia than reality. The logical reasoning, in other words, as to why we cannot pass further laws.

Same old.

We have always possessed guns, and always will. Those who will not be able to purchase a weapon legally will most certainly find them on the black market if they want them badly enough. I’m no lawmaker. I have thoughts regarding deeper background checks and mental health tests as does anyone, but truth is my written ramblings will fall into a pit with millions of others on social media … only to be forgotten until the next tragedy occurs and we once again revisit our collective anger.

Once more … none of this is okay.

The Future

At this rate, we will likely see another six or seven dozen fatalities before the end of the year, from another 45 or 50 mass shootings.

If you believe nothing needs to change, you are out of your mind and, frankly, should be nowhere near a weapon.

Change is imperative.

Regardless of whether both sides of the aisle will ever work together to make reform happen, one thing is as certain as death and taxes: 2020 is around the corner.

Let’s not forget for one moment the true power we share as U.S. citizens:

The power to #VOTE.

Thank you for reading.

Written by

Joel Eisenberg is an award-winning author, screenwriter, and producer. The Oscar in the profile pic isn’t his but he’s scheming. WGA and Pen America member.

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