NYT Calls to "End the Gun Epidemic;" It's About Time, America
If you’ve been following the news lately—or at all, in the past few years—the words “mass shooting” probably have little shock value for you now. Politicians, journalists, and people all over the country are by now tragically desensitized to the term. The recent atrocities in San Bernardino marked the 355th mass shooting this year. It’s been said before, but it bears repeating—when we, as a nation, are averaging more than one mass shooting a day, something needs to be done about gun control. Something, at least, must be done about how we talk about it.
Luckily, the New York Times agrees. Last Friday, December 4th, the paper published its first front-page editorial in 95 years, condemning the atrocious and increasing acts of domestic terrorism in the U.S., as well as the absence of any kind of political action to prevent them. The editorial, penned by the Times’ Editorial Board, is brief, but its message is aggressively clear. “It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency,” the article states.
Considering this is the paper’s first front-page opinion piece in almost a century, it’s clear they believe that an end to the “Gun Epidemic” is long overdue. In a statement obtained by the Hollywood Reporter, Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. said that the idea was to, in an effective way, “deliver a strong and visible statement of frustration and anguish about our country’s inability to come to terms with the scourge of guns.” The front page, he says, remains a powerful medium through which to communicate the most important issues. “And, what issue is more important than our nation’s failure to protect its citizens?” Sulzberger adds.
The President, when he is not being attacked by many on the Right for trying to take away their firearms, is often berated by the Left for not being active enough in the push for gun control. But on Sunday, December 6th, he delivered an Oval Office statement tackling the events in San Bernardino, and specifically how they connect to the plot of a terrorist organization overseas, or if they were part of “a broader conspiracy here at home.” But, to mobilize troops as we did in 2003, Obama said, would be counter-productive.
While the San Bernardino shooting is officially considered by the U.S. government to be grounded in extremist Islamic beliefs, the issue that must be addressed is why attacks from extremist groups are especially feasible in the States. Many Americans, Conservatives especially, want a war on terror. But, what does it mean to them when the terrorists are Americans, attacking on American soil, with the guns they so vehemently fight for the right to easily acquire?
“America’s elected leaders offer prayers for gun victims and then…reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing, as they did on Thursday,” the Times article reads. “They distract us with arguments about the word terrorism. Let’s be clear: These spree killings are all, in their own ways, acts of terrorism.” No matter the motivation, steps need to be taken to ensure the safety of the people. As the Times argues—and the President comes close to doing so also—to direct our responses overseas is not the answer. We need to first fix our country from the inside.
Images via the New York Times.