• Will We Have a Conversation About Guns?

    You probably spent a lot of time this weekend reading or watching the news, even though the news is awful to absorb and too terrible to comprehend, because all of us want to know what happened, and how, and why, and what happens next. That's sort of our thing, in America: we talk about stuff, from the trivial (Kim Kardashian's butt) to the profound (is health care a right or a privilege?), and we do it freely and openly and, often, in partnership with our elected officials. There are probably several members of Congress who can articulate clear opinions about Kim Kardashian's butt.

    So you can imagine our surprise when, after the tragic events in Newtown last Friday, we learned that we are not having a conversation about guns. The White House said it was not time to have a conversation about guns, and the president gave a tearful statement that made vague reference to taking "meaningful action," and finally last night he gave a speech at a Newtown prayer vigil, saying he would "use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens [...] in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this."

    Okay. So are we having a conversation about guns, now? How about now? Are we doing it now?

    The funny thing is, even before last Friday people were expressing opinions about guns. They did it on Twitter and Facebook and Tumblr and on their blogs and on op-ed pages and in magazines and self-published zines and on radio shows and television programs. Why, we have joined the fray a few times ourselves. Even this weekend, while everyone was asking if we would have a conversation about guns, we were having a conversation about guns: Louie Gohmert said we should arm teachers to prevent school shootings, Mike Huckabee said gun violence happens because "we've removed God from our schools," and over 140,000 Americans said we should "immediately address the issue of gun control through legislation in Congress."

    This is a conversation. It's just missing a few voices.

    Maybe instead of asking when or if we'll have a conversation about guns, we should be asking why more people aren't joining the conversation that's been going on for decades. As for those who say we shouldn't have this conversation, or that we should minimize this conversation, well, that's one giant load of bull-hockey, no matter how you feel about gun control legislation. Talking, unlike some other activities, never hurt anybody.

    Tags: Barack Obama, Guns, Louie Gohmert, Mike Huckabee


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