The title of this article is a plea from people every time a mass shooting happens, begging people to mourn the loss of life before they bring politics into a situation. Their question begs us to take however long THEY need to process death before talking about how senseless gun crimes are happening in this country, or how no “good guy with a gun” saved anyone, or how white nationalism IS the only form of terrorism we need to be afraid of.
And the answer is, “No.”
No, we cannot JUST have broken and empathetic hearts for the victims of mass shootings when they are happening at an alarming rate. What are you sympathizers doing for the victims and their families? Are you offering financial or emotional support for all of them? Are you sending them handwritten cards in envelopes sealed with your thoughts and prayers? Are you sending your prayers out into the ether in hopes that the very god you pray to who allows this to happen on a weekly basis in our country just finally hears YOUR prayer for it to stop?
My grandmother used to take me to Cielo Vista Mall. Now it’s one more mass shooting scene. How many more must grieve before we act? #ElPaso
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) August 3, 2019
What are you doing, exactly to mourn these people that you didn’t even know?
So, no. Unless you’re the family of these dead, we cannot JUST have broken and empathetic hearts anymore. Where exactly has that gotten us?
When you refuse to look at the issue at hand the very minute it happens, you are failing to elicit change. What you’re offering is a complicit view of the issue.
What would have happened if President Bush and first responders in Manhattan and New Jersey had taken time to mourn the deaths of those affected by the terrorist attacks of 9/11? Nothing. Nothing would have happened. No change would have happened, no action to rescue those stuck in the rubble, no firefighters would have lined up on the GWB trying to help.
Nothing would have happened.
What the dead need are people who are activators. People who are willing to spread the word, reach out to their local and state lawmakers. What we need are people willing to elicit change, people who are willing and able to call the issue what it is: TERRORISM.
America is under attack from homegrown white nationalist terrorism. That ideology is evil. It is being condoned at the highest levels of our government. And today it inspired a gunman to claim at least 20 lives in #ElPaso.
Enough is enough. We have an obligation to act. pic.twitter.com/5kiKFkjSi7
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) August 4, 2019
The terrorism caused by mass shootings happening by domestic-grown terrorists is real, and when you won’t call it what it is, you’re allowing it to grow and get bigger and more real and closer to your own home.
The issue now isn’t “if” you’re somehow affected by a homegrown terrorist. It is “when”. The issue is when. It is now. And the solution won’t be found in mourning the deaths of people you don’t know. It will be found when you get off of your ass and start calling it what it is: Terrorism, and demanding that things change.
Want more information on gun violence prevention?
- Visit the Human Rights Campaign for Gun Violence.
- Educate yourself on Gun Violence in the United States
- Visit Everytown for Gun Safety for sample letters to send lawmakers about gun violence
- Use Resistbot to reach your lawmakers about this urgent and most pressing issue in the US
- Host a local interest group conversation to reach people in your community looking for information on gun violence and what they can do (besides think and pray) to elicit change.
You can mourn the fact that this continues to happen in our country while the masses turn a blind eye to the root cause of the issue. What you cannot do, is mourn people you don’t know, not unless you want to be part of the problem.