I had been preparing – in my mind, anyway – my post-mortem on the election since the results were in last Tuesday night.
Since I can already sense your collective “here we go again” eye roll, I’ll put your mind at ease. I’m not going there today after all. But in a few minutes you might wish I had.
I am not inclined to convey any additional pronouncements on this year’s races – my thoughts on the now-split Congress, how Tennessee solidly affirmed its redness and/or how Marsha Blackburn and Bill Lee each mopped up the floor with her/his respective opponent.
Just a couple of days after the election, as leaders of both political parties continued to put their spin on the nationwide outcomes, we woke once again to the awful news of a mass shooting, this time at a popular bar in Thousand Oaks, California. At that point I no longer cared much about politics.
It happened scarcely more than a week after members of a Jewish synagogue, exercising their right to worship, had been gunned down in Pittsburgh.
I have lost count of the number of times something like this has happened since I started writing this column in 2011. There have been shootings in theaters, churches, schools and shopping centers.
I’ve written on this topic a few times, usually following these tragedies. As I go back and read through those pieces, I’m embarrassed by the platitudes. All my going on about innocent people, the senselessness of it all and how we have to start having meaningful conversations did absolutely nothing to help.
My fellow columnist Ramon Presson, however, did a much better job of getting to the heart of the matter in September 2017, days after the way-too-close-to-home church shooting in Antioch, when he wrote about “sacred space” and how he had come to sense we don’t have many of those places anymore.
He poignantly wondered aloud how God must be “grieved by what is being played out regularly around the world, and this week here in our own community.”
And while I’m done with politics for a while, and I’m not going to repeat my laments from previous columns, I am going to openly ask Governor-elect Lee and Senator-elect Blackburn, both of whom, during their campaigns, affirmed their commitment to the Second Amendment right to bear arms, how they plan to deal with this issue.
Can we preserve that Second Amendment right while putting some parameters around purchasing guns?
Can we at least discuss the types of firearms ordinary citizens, who are not in the military, need to own?
Or are we so frightened by the supposed threat to the Second Amendment (or those who so loudly tell us about that threat) that we don’t ask these or similar questions, while the random mass killings continue?
After one of the shootings during the last year, I heard a commentator say that both sides (those who believe in some type of reasonable gun legislation and those who believe anything of the sort would violate the Second Amendment) tend to overreact in the wake of such events.
I almost laughed when I heard that, because at the time I thought, and I still believe, overreaction to be exactly what we need. More accurately, I don’t believe you can overreact when innocent lives (there I go again) are being taken and the number of safe places to congregate seems to be dwindling.
Why not get the discussion going and keep it going?
A little emotion coming from our elected (and newly elected) officials over this matter would, in my view, go a long way.
Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, happy husband and proud father, father-in-law and grandfather. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.