It would have been incredibly crass for either Presidential candidate to talk politics with respect to the movie theatre shootings in Aurora, Colorado, last week. Thank goodness they both took the tone they did and realized that American hearts are hurting. The measured pause in the current stage of the 2012 elections, where polls show the race tightening up, should be commended.
For so many families, movies are a great escape, especially in an economy where voters may be opting for staycations over vacations or during a summer with as many 100 degree days as we've had so far. How can anyone escape the feelings of vulnerability Americans feel after what appeared to be a promotional stunt at a showing of Dark Knight Rises ended in a horrific massacre? It transcends politics. And thank goodness that both President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney realized that.
When it's the right time, they may want to address gun control. At least that's what New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg would like. What would be wrong with Romney saying it's up to individual states to decide? And why can't he get elected President if he acknowledges that, as governor of Massachusetts, he signed a ban on assault weapons? I don't see that as a contradiction of his support for the N.R.A. After all, their basic fight is for the right for Americans to keep and bear arms, isn't it?
No one is questioning the right to bear arms and no one I know is talking about taking guns and bullets away from hunters who buy their weapons and ammo legally. We're talking about stopping rogue killers or plugging the holes in the underground market where sellers purposely thwart regulations. James Holmes was intelligent enough to buy two handguns in two separate locations because he knew the Deptartment of Justice would have to be notified if he bought both in the same place.
A lot of Republicans are afraid to talk about guns. To be honest, I used to see the gun as the enemy instead of the person holding it. I now live in a place where some of the state's most upstanding citizens love their guns. They buy them legally, keep them locked up and use them for recreation. It has given me pause. And I no longer see guns themselves as the bad guys. Well, not all guns anyway. As a Mom, though, it's going to take a lot of convincing to get me to like an assault weapon.
I just read a great article in Newsday about whether you can even identify a killer like James Holmes before he strikes? It says the FBI has done a better job profiling and halting Al Queda than to identify loners turned mass murderers before they strike. That does seem to confirm we don't need new laws, we need to talk about and understand how to enforce the laws we have and to close the holes in the net that a troubled person like James Holmes can so easily slip through. Even the WOR interviewer asked Bloomberg whether the issue isn't gun laws but a breakdown of community within our society.
I think it would be helpful to consider this issue in light of immigration. Immigration is a problem that was too hot to handle for a long time. Only now are both sides really sitting down to talk about how nuanced an issue it really is. And it is only when the discussions start that progress will be made.
This post is part of a weekly conversation with our Moms Matter 2012 political bloggers. To see the original question and what the other writers have to say, see Where Do You Stand on the Gun Control Debate?
Image via Svaldifari/Flickr