Editorial: Regarding Las Vegas

By Peg Schreiner & Will Walkey

After snoozing the alarm several times, many of our morning routines consist of scrolling through concise news alerts from some combination of CNN, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and maybe even Buzzfeed. On Monday morning we woke to the news that 59 unsuspecting, innocent people were shot to death at a concert in Las Vegas, and over 500 others were injured. Another senseless act of violence our representatives could have and should have prevented.

Our country will surely reignite the debate of gun control with the familiar partisan fervor that followed Virginia Tech, Orlando, Sandy Hook, and Aurora…the list goes on. What is most upsetting about the debate that will ensue is many American’s lack of interest in it. This is not for lack of passion in the debate or a lack of understanding of the gravity of gun control, but rather a jadedness that has developed from years of ineffectual lawmakers and influence from the lobbying groups that influence votes. It is for this same reason that some of us have become so immune to news of mass shootings that after scrolling through our morning alerts we were able to pour a cup of coffee and start our day without second thought. Nothing about the frequency of mass shootings should normalize them.

As President David Greene alluded to in his Lovejoy address, why does our country seem to value one’s right to own a gun over innocent concert-goers’ right to live?

An attendee at the Lovejoy Convocation asked honoree Alec MacGillis why the murder of 20 young children at Sandy Hook wasn’t “enough” for our nation to act reasonably about gun control. Why didn’t we wake up then, and is there any chance we will do better this time around? It is easy to become discouraged by these prospects, but MacGillis reminded the audience of the progress we have made. A would-be consequential gun control bill to close loopholes at gun shows was just shy of passing the Senate several years ago. This demonstrates that instead of becoming disenchanted by lack of tangible progress, Americans need to continue to push forward and advocate for increased gun control. Call your representatives. Write them letters. Advocacy might not work everytime, but it sure is better than giving up.