Grijalva: 'Grief cannot be the end of our response'
When a man kills twenty children and seven others for no reason other than his own demons, the immediate human response is the same anywhere: deep pain, grief, anger and frustration. In the United States, unfortunately, such a tragedy carries an added weight because it is not unique.
Last Friday will live in our collective memory, just as Aurora, Virginia Tech, Columbine, Tucson and the numerous other mass killings we have endured will live in our memory. We have become a nation overly acquainted with shock and grief.
That grief cannot be the end of our response. With millions of other Americans, I say today that we should stop making emotional room in our hearts for each year's new round of public shootings and killing sprees. We should resolve to end them rather than accommodate them.
At some point, which I believe we long ago passed, the time comes to stop calling for "a national dialogue" when one side is clearly uninterested in talking. Absolutism in defense of gun violence is no virtue, and we have been cowed by absolutists for too long. When we accept eight or nine thousand gun murders a year as the price of what some people think of as freedom, we have gone too far.
It takes necessary courage in these moments to admit that our laws are part of the problem and that no amount of emotional healing is going to prevent the next tragedy. The scandalous availability of highly lethal weapons to even the least qualified, least competent and most dangerous among us has gone on long enough. If pro-gun activists will not negotiate in good faith, it is time for the country to move on without them. Sitting on our hands and hoping for the best is no longer an option.
There are plenty of people who believe otherwise. I wonder how they would feel if it had been them at five years old.
U.S. Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva represents Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District.