By now, I doubt there’s an American who has not heard the news: 512 people shot, 58 killed, by a single gunman. We don’t know his motive, probably never will. It seems likely that he was severely emotionally or psychologically damaged, although his family seems unaware of any such history. His father was once on the FBI Most Wanted list—what, if anything, does that have to do with today’s horrific event?
On Facebook today, the mood of the country seemed resigned to “This is the kind of country we live in.” The only developed country that has such mass shootings—though never this large before—on a regular basis: we average two a month. And citizens feel we can do nothing to change it. I reject that thinking. We can and must change it.
Ten days after the shooting of school children in Newton, Connecticut, support for stricter gun control began to fade as the horror of that massacre faded from the public mind. We seem to have short memories for that which is unpleasant or uncomfortable. By ten days later, a CNN poll showed that 52% of Americans opposed stricter gun control.
Will that happen again? Americans right now are stunned horrified. There will undoubtedly be a call for stricter gun control. But will it last? It seems to me we face a choice: Do you want to take a knee with the NFL or do you want to shrug in resignation when a man shoots over 500 people. For me, today’s event dramatizes the choice in characters that faces our nation. While this massacre was not racially motivated, or so we assume, it demonstrates the unleashed violence of our culture, the violence that football players are peacefully protesting.
Change begins at the local level, with each one of us. Will you stand silently by and shrug or will you take a knee?