Years ago, after the Polytechnique Massacre, when there was discussion as to what to do about what seemed, at the time, to be an overwhelming amount of violence against women (honestly, at the time, it seemed like once a week there was a man who’d murdered his wife or wife and kids), I was told that as a person who has experienced violence that I was not “able” to talk intelligently on the subject as I would be “too emotional”. Because who you want to discuss the ramifications of violence would be those who have NOT experienced it–obviously they can be oh-so-much more rational on the subject.
Yeah, try again.
When 9/11 happened, the news, all the media were filled with tales of the survivors and the victims. People who had not been in New York or Washington told poignant stories about how they felt it had happened to them directly, even if they had no direct connection to any of it. All of America mourned–and expected the world to mourn with them. Remember the Olympics when the US team used a 9/11 flag as the flag they brought into the Opening Ceremonies, prompting the citizens of other countries to point out that the US was not the only country to experience that kind of terror or mass-death on their own soil…
But the constant message was that bad things had happened to American citizens, and that the US needed to find the people who had made those things happen and stop them. The victims’ relatives and survivors were front and centre of the news cycle so we could hear their stories and become saddened, enraged and motivated anew.
And yes, we understood that airplanes could not be blamed for what had been done–but the fact that those terrorists had been able to take airplanes and use them as weapons was completely understood and was dealt with. We see that today every time we try to travel by air when we encounter security, when we have to produce our passports to cross the border (something not needed to travel from Canada to the US before 9/11). The attitude of the US government was that, never again, will someone be able to use an airplane as a weapon to kill people.
Every single day someone takes a gun and uses it against someone else. And occasionally, one of those someones uses it to harm many, many people, fully aware that they are capable of doing so, fully planning to do so. How many times have we read of these shooters carefully stockpiling their weapons and their ammunition?
Let’s put every single relative of a Newton, Connecticut victim front-and-centre in the news cycle. Let’s have them stand in front of the White House with signs showing photos of their relatives. Let’s put the photos of every single one of those children all over the media for all of those in the American government to see. Let’s watch them cry–over and over again.
Then tell them no, that gun control is not a good thing.