Do we care enough?
That’s the questions that was posed to the American people this week by our Commander in Chief.
At a service to honor those who were shot and killed at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., earlier this month, President Obama asked the American people whether we are willing to do more than just keep grieving and expect different outcomes.
The question is not “whether as Americans we care in moments of tragedy. Clearly we care. Our hearts are broken again. But do we care enough?,” he asked.
He pointed to the fact that the Navy yard shootings are part of a pattern of violence present in the United States that somehow seems to be accepted as though there was nothing we could do to stop it.
Following another mass shooting — the killing of 20 innocent children at Sandy Hook Elementary School last December — the President made good on his pledge to those children’s parents. He led an effort to push through legislation that would aggressively restrict gun sales. It included expanded background checks and would have closed the loopholes that allow gun sales without background checks.
But that work was for not when the Senate could not pass a compromised background check bill, due to the strong opposition from the National Rifle Association and lawmakers who favor gun rights.
As the president said this week, “it may not happen tomorrow and it may not happen next week or next month, but it will happen because it is the change we need.”
The politics of gun control are messy. The arguments often hinge on Second Amendment rights, and fears that the rights of lawful gun owners might be compromised. And some in Congress are just too afraid to stand up to the NRA.
Each time a shooting happens in America — Newtown, Tucson, Aurora, Oak Creek, Fort Hood, and now Washington, D.C. — we react with shock, not believing that it has happened again. But it will continue to happen until we care enough to make a change.
It’s our responsibility as Americans to see that guns do not get in the wrong hands. It’s our duty, too, to fund the mental health care system so as to help the mentally ill before they act with gun violence.
Until we care, we will be a nation that continues to mourn.