There are but few certainties in life: death, taxes, and the fact debates over guns will froth with vitriol before going nowhere at all.
Perhaps most vividly, it happened after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, when the outrage of grieving parents was met by the lobbying might of the National Rifle Association. Naturally, the NRA won that fight as their drum-beating, you-can-take-my-gun-from-my-cold-dead-hands-type rhetoric convinced their base that the government was surely coming for their guns.
In many ways, it’s not surprising. The NRA has been a dominant force in Washington for decades, and to see it quash opposition after [insert mass shooting here] is never a shock.
But in the face of this inaction, both on the part of Congress and the NRA, the steady march of gun violence — especially at schools — has yet to stop.
Just last week, the accidental firing of a gun in a 12-year-old Los Angeles girl’s backpack injured two of her middle school classmates.
Two weeks ago, a shooting at a Kentucky high school left two dead and 18 wounded. And that was the 11th school shooting of the year.
Nevada is no exception. It was less than five years ago when a 12-year-old opened fire at Sparks Middle School, killing a teacher and wounding two others before killing himself.
This can’t be nothing. To suggest so is as dangerous as it is ignorant. But at the same time, both sides — the 2nd Amendment purists and gun control proponents alike — need to be able to discuss the problem in a way that doesn’t end in yelling, cursing and more deadly indecision.
So maybe we need to admit the conversations we’re having now aren’t working, and commit to talking about it another way. Maybe we need to admit the answer might not be outright gun control, but also see and acknowledge there’s still a problem to be discussed and to be solved.
Perhaps we could let the CDC study gun violence as a public health problem. Then we might finally have actionable data with which to form cohesive, consensus legislation on guns that most people might agree on.
And on an even simpler level, we need to acknowledge that we all keep talking past each other. We need to understand the nuance, and approach gun violence from a perspective inclusive of both the 2nd Amendment — which has shown itself to be an immutable part of the American identity — and those Americans who see guns as something to be strictly controlled.
Sure, it may be an idealistic take. But if we cannot commit to starting somewhere, anywhere, the body count will continue to rise.
The editorial board can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.