It's time we did something about gun violence.
"The paralysis you feel right now — the impotent helplessness that washes over you as news of another mass slaughter scrolls across the television screen — isn’t real," wrote Sen. Chris Murphy.
"It's a fiction created and methodically cultivated by the gun lobby, designed to assure that no laws are passed to make America safer, because those laws would cut into their profits," the Connecticut Democrat continued.
As many other politicians followed the standard routine of blaming gun violence on mental illness and offering "thoughts and prayers" in the wake of yet another mass shooting — this one in a Sutherland Springs, Texas, church — Murphy issued a statement urging immediate and tangible action.
Murphy speaks out following the Pulse night club shooting in 2016. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.
The reaction to this most recent shooting in Texas, which killed at least 26 churchgoers and injured 20 others, has become disturbingly routine.
The attack, reportedly carried out by 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley, came less than five weeks after the Las Vegas massacre (58 dead), 16 months after the Pulse night club shooting in Orlando (49 dead), and five years after the Sandy Hook shooting (27 dead). CNN's Brian Stelter called the Texas shooting "unfathomable," but a look at the regularity with which these massacres happen suggests otherwise.
Murphy, who was the congressman for the city of Newtown, Connecticut, during the Sandy Hook shooting, is urging us to take a look at these horrors for what they are: a part of American life that we can put an end to if we want to.
"None of this is inevitable," Murphy wrote. "I know this because no other country endures this pace of mass carnage like America. It is uniquely and tragically American. As long as our nation chooses to flood the country with dangerous weapons and consciously let those weapons fall into the hands of dangerous people, these killings will not abate."
The First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, following a shooting on Nov. 5, 2017. Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images.
Too many members of Congress are bought and paid for by the gun lobby, led by the National Rifle Association. Murphy wants to change that.
In recent years, the NRA has gotten increasingly extremist in its positions and messaging. They count on people being too shocked to act, and they count on that to defer any sort of legislative solution to some undefined future time when it's no longer "disrespectful" to the victims to want to do something that will prevent there being future victims.
Murphy is calling on his colleagues to reconsider whether it's worth it to pander to the gun lobby at the cost of American lives. If they can't or won't do that — which you can find out by contacting your representative and senators to find out where they stand on the issue — it's up to everyday citizens to vote them out of office.
"The terrifying fact is that no one is safe so long as Congress chooses to do absolutely nothing in the face of this epidemic," Murphy concluded. "The time is now for Congress to shed its cowardly cover and do something."