Nearly 21 years after the Columbine High School massacre, America is still trying to decide whether or not assault rifles and the influence of the gun lobby are more important than human lives, with all the usual sound and fury that has heretofore signified nothing.
On Tuesday, just one day after a gunman killed 10 people in a Colorado grocery store and one week after a different gunman killed eight people at multiple Atlanta stores, President Joe Biden begged Congress finally do something about the death, beyond thinking and praying, a tactic that has proved ineffective for over two decades:
“I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common sense steps that will save lives in the future and to urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to act,” Biden said in remarks at the White House following Monday’s shooting. “We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again. I got that done when I was a senator. … We should do it again.”
Former-President Obama urged the people who could easily take action yet have done nothing to address the constant, senseless killing of unarmed Americans as they attempt to go to school, work, the grocery store, the movie theater, a concert, a yoga class, or literally anywhere else people congregate, by suggesting they simply “make it harder for those with hate in their hearts to buy weapons of war.”
But making obtaining weapons just a smidge more difficult to get has thusly proved too tall an order for a country where mass shootings occur multiple times per week. In the wake of the Parkland school shooting back in 2018, Boulder attempted to ban assault weapons to prevent a tragedy just like Monday’s shootings. Just 10 days ago, the resulting ban was blocked pending a lawsuit lodged by the Colorado State Shooting Association. In the wake of a military-style assault by a citizen on citizens, the typical rhetoric is dispensed: the shooting and lawsuit enthusiasts, whose work all but guarantees death, have decided now is not the best time to talk about preventing these murders:
“‘There will be a time for the debate on gun laws,” the Colorado State Shooting Association said in a statement. “There will be a time for the discussion on motives. There will be a time for a conversation on how this could have been prevented,’ the group said in a statement. ‘But today is not the time.’”
Meanwhile, the wait to have this conversation is nearly old enough to drink. As CNN correspondent Kathleen Belew pointed out on Twitter, the latest mass shooting suspect was born just three days before the Columbine shooting. We have been saving this conversation for a better time for literally his entire life.