Bankole: Take decisive action on gun control
The national conversation that followed the tragedy in El Paso, where a coward drinking from the bitter cup of xenophobia and racism killed 22 people in that Hispanic town, and in Dayton, where a seemingly deranged man took nine lives, is that we are basically at a point of helplessness.
Yet what we need right now is the will to finally put an end to the cycle of mass murder in this nation that we were painfully reminded of in last weekend’s massacres.
We need to stop praying and take decisive action now.
Pundits from all sides of the political spectrum have tried to say there isn’t much that can be done about mass shootings, and that we will be here again because no drastic measures have been taken in the past to prevent such acts.
Something can and must be done this time around about the murderous acts in Texas and Ohio because we are at an inflection point.
To begin with, we must commit that the massacre in El Paso should not repeat itself. And that calls for us to forcefully and unequivocally denounce white nationalism as a concept that threatens the future of this nation as a vibrant and healthy multiracial democracy. There hasn’t been an overwhelming condemnation from the highest levels of political power of the practice of white supremacy.
To confront that menace, the Republican Party and its leaders must take a stand and reject in the strongest terms those who under the guise of conservative politics are using the party as a shield to advance the dangerous notions of white power.
The fact that few GOP members in Congress came out on national television and openly condemned the massacre in El Paso spoke volumes about the trepidation inside the party to deal with what Gen Colin Powell once called “a dark vein of intolerance” within the party.
The GOP must take sides: either become a political party that wants to be viewed as a respectable conservative institution that believes minorities enrich this nation, and are part of the larger American experiment, or an organization of angry people championing the politics of white identity and the dominance of one race.
Following the cold-blooded slaughters in Dayton, Congress and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should move with deliberate speed in a bipartisan approach and adopt measures that will prevent future attacks. Creating sensible gun control laws that include background checks to ensure public safety does not in any way infringe upon the Second Amendment.
So far, more easily accessible guns have amounted to more killings in the streets, and this cannot be allowed to continue in a nation that values the sanctity of human life.
As Emma Gonzalez, one of the speakers at the March for Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C., last year after 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, said: “Since the time of the Founding Fathers and since they added the Second Amendment to the Constitution, our guns have developed at a rate that leaves me dizzy. The guns have changed but our laws have not. We certainly do not understand why it should be harder to make plans with friends on weekends than to buy an automatic or semi-automatic weapon."
But 9-year-old Yolanda Renee King, the granddaughter of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., standing with Jaclyn Corin, a survivor of the Parkland shooting during the march, gave us something to imagine in light of the wholesale killings in Texas and Ohio.
“I have a dream that enough is enough," she said. "And that this should be a gun-free world, period.”
We can begin by pushing for prudent gun control laws that would make it extremely difficult for madmen to take any more lives, including white nationalists.
We have the power to stop the next bloodbath.