No matter how much Republicans want to depoliticize shootings, the reality won’t change. Gun violence is a public issue and must be treated as such.
With the recent shooting in Uvalde and the criticism of the police response, the nation once again faces a reckoning over the nation’s gun laws. The pain and loss that comes with the death of 21 people inevitably provoke demands for action, but with those calls for change comes another response, with gun enthusiasts emphatically condemning the ‘politicization’ of shootings. To those who hold this position, shootings must remain apolitical out of respect for the dead, which is a massive mistake.
While it is understandable why people would want to avoid bringing politics into a tragedy such as a mass shooting, said shootings are already political and will remain so for the given future. Attempts to respect the dead, even when well-intentioned, will not change the public nature of those shootings.
Shootings, as consistent as they are in the United States, are a public problem. They destroy the lives of American citizens, subject the survivors to abject horrors for the rest of their lives and destroy the faith the people have in their public institutions and their own safety. Such a threat to the well-being of the American people will always be a matter of political concern.
The idea that this wouldn’t be political or a matter of public concern is not only naive but restricts the American people’s ability to prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future.
Of course, there are also the individuals who want to restrict what is and isn’t political, so they can keep power out of the hands of the public and prevent changes in the nation’s gun laws. Tucker Carlson and Glenn Greenwald are perfect examples of this.
Moreover, those who advocate for the idea that shootings must remain apolitical or that we must wait before we discuss gun control are almost always unwilling to consider how long we are supposed to wait before we say the obvious: America has a gun problem. Sandy Hook was ten years ago, and yet, it would not surprise me if there would still be people objecting to a discussion of gun laws surrounding Sandy Hook on the same grounds that they did ten years ago.
These obstructionist figures fail to provide solutions, and through their appeals to respect for the dead, they ensure that more innocent people will be killed. Whether or not Republicans like it, shootings are a matter of public concern and the sooner the American people come to terms with that, the sooner we can protect our citizenry from this horrific bloodshed.