The time to now to enact change

In Newtown, Conn., a man armed with two semiautomatic pistols and assault style rifle killed 26 — 20 of them children. The president spoke to the country and said that the victims and their families will be held in our thoughts and prayers. I agree that we need to offer prayers of condolences. But we need to do more. To let our response stop with prayers and sympathy would, in my opinion, be a mockery and hollow gesture. It is time that we and our elected representatives engage in a meaningful and productive discussion of how to minimize further gun violence. I do not accept the assertion that there is nothing we can do. We are better than that.

I agree that it is too early to enact any particular law or regulation concerning gun control or gun violence. But many laws and regulations emanate from a reaction to horrible events. But as with any law, the issue needs to be thoroughly reviewed, discussed, and debated. All sides need to be heard in order to arrive at the right solution. However, to say that law must be the product of a rationale process is not to say that “it is too early to address the problem.” How many more children or innocent victims need to die before the time is right to begin the process. The time is now.

I urge each of us to contact our local, state, and federal elected representatives to begin the process. And, I hope that these officials have the moral courage to address this issue without bending to the special interest groups on either the right or the left. All sides need to engage in meaningful discussions and stop repeating talking points that have been handed to them. They need to work toward solutions that honor and protect innocent lives even if that means compromising on previously held positions.

Every once and awhile both individuals and their political leaders need to stand up and do the right thing. That time is now.

Ronald Castleberry