Issac J. Bailey | We haven’t earned the right to mourn

We don’t care that more than two dozen people – mostly children aged 5 to 10 – were gunned down in an elementary school in Connecticut.

So let us not mourn their deaths; it would only sully their memories.

We didn’t care when a congresswoman got shot in the head.

We didn’t care when a man in full body armor invaded a theater and mowed down a “Batman” audience.

We didn’t care about the Sikhs whose bodies were riddled with bullets as they worshipped God.

We don’t care about the everyday, run-of-the-mill gun violence that pervades too many communities.

We don’t care that the U.S. has the top gun murder rate among the world’s richest countries.

We only care about protecting ourselves against an imagined, paranoid future world in which the federal government might someday use its arms against its own citizens.

If some of those citizens, possessing enough arms to bring down a small army, happen to beat that imagined federal government to the punch, so be it.

We care more about protecting a cartoonish version of the Second Amendment or lumping responsible hunters in with mass murderers.

We repeat laughable claims as though they are sacrosanct; suggest that a weapon that can fire dozens of bullets in a matter of seconds is no more dangerous than a washed-up superstar running back wielding a knife.

We avoid any real contemplation by ducking into our comfortable ideologically-based corners.

We’re cowards.

We’ll scream bloody murder when a group of terrorists kills four Americans in a lightly-guarded consulate in a war-torn country, and demand to know how it happened and why and how to make sure it never does again.

We’ll politicize the death of a Border Patrol agent during an ill-advised gun-walking operation – then ignore a report that says law enforcement officials and prosecutors felt desperate to try such tactics because lax gun regulations tied their hands.

But when Americans slaughter other Americans in mass shootings, heading off future massacres takes a backseat to shoutfests.

So let’s not mourn the deaths of those children, or the adults who died alongside them.

We haven’t earned the right.

We shouldn’t shed tears; we should shed the shame we should have long felt and demand a better way.

It’s not about deciding between stricter gun laws or no gun laws; it’s about saying we are tired of being sick and tired of sickening headlines that seem to bombard us seemingly weekly.

It’s not about arguing that because we can’t prevent each of these incidents that we should be satisfied with the number we continue to experience.

It’s not about placing blame solely on the presence of guns. Mental health and other societal factors are clearly in play.

They, too, must be examined.

But how we view and use guns must not be left out of the discussion.

Not this time.