Nirmy Kang: It Has Happened Again

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Another schoolhouse shooting has both sides going to their predictable corners to explain how we got here and where we should go. Nirmy Kang has this Perspective.

It has happened again.

This time a boy, or technically a man, entered a school and killed 19 children and two teachers.

You may tell me that if a law-abiding citizen with a gun had been present this could have been prevented. I will tell you that if we did not permit assault weapons in the hands of ordinary citizens this would not have happened.

You will insist that most gun owners are responsible people and want common-sense gun reform. I will insist that even so there is no place for assault weapons on the streets of a civilized country.
You will remind me of your constitutional rights and I will ask you about the constitutional rights of children who are murdered in their classrooms.

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You will offer your prayers and condolences. I will say nothing, for platitudes bring no comfort. Perhaps for a brief moment we will weep together but then because once again we were one of the lucky ones we can go back to business as usual.

You, firm in your conviction that it is not guns but criminals and mental health challenges that are to blame. I, firm in mine that it is because of guns that we puny humans are able to wreak such levels of carnage.

“Stop all the clocks,” W.H. Auden said. “Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come. For nothing now can ever come to any good.” After tragedies like these, when the air hangs heavy with sorrow and despair and the consequences of actions taken and not taken, it does indeed feel as if nothing good can come.

Yet what if we all stopped and seared the memory of the sweet innocent faces that were lost into our hearts and said, 'Never again'? What if we all stopped and truthfully counted the terrible toll that is being exacted and said, 'Not one more'? What if we all stopped and looked at our country through the telescope of reality and not through the lens of misguided exceptionalism and said, 'Enough.'
If we do not come together as a nation—If we do not agree on a change of course—We will, I fear, continue to unravel.

With a Perspective, This is Nirmy Kang.

Nirmy Kang is a Bay area writer.