It is a tragedy to hear and see the devastation by another mass public shooting. I would hope that all Americans would share the sentiment that we are tired of raising our flag to only half-mast. It is time that we as individuals and as a community are honest about the core of this issue. Unfortunately it is very disheartening to see those that would actually use the victims of such an atrocious act to push a political narrative. Please, if you want to have a political conversation about the Second Amendment, don’t stand on the graves of innocent victims to proclaim your politics or use the surviving high school children as your prop to make your agenda heard.
Now is the time to address what is going on in America. Since 1982, there has been 97 mass shootings, with 58 occurring since 2006. While in the same time period government gun restriction has grown tighter with federal Second Amendment restrictions in the form of the Gun Control Act of 1968, the Brady Bill, Gun-Free School Zones Act, to name a few. In the last five decades gun laws have tightened while gun violence has increased. Maybe it is not so much the weapons that are evil but the people propagating the evil action. History does not support the idea that the only evil in a mass shooting is the weapon. It is like trying to fight childhood obesity by eliminating spoons.
We have to go beyond the surface and critically think. Ask ourselves the question: have we as a society had a shift in the past 50 years as to what we value and how we think? From ignoring basic human biology to questioning the centuries-old structure of marriage, how we as a society think has ramifications. I do agree with former President Barack Obama when he stated “I came to understand the importance of fatherhood through its absence – both in my life and in the lives of others. I came to understand that the hole a man leaves when he abandons his responsibility to his children is one that no government can fill.” We as a state and a nation are in a battle for what is more valuable than Wall Street and more costly than any infrastructure package. We are in a battle for the fabric of who we are and who we will be. We must love and invest in the next generation of our children or this trajectory of pain will continue.
Matt Regier is a Republican state representative from Kalispell.