By JAMILA RIZVI
Dear President Obama,
27 people are dead. And 20 of them are children.
You need to politicise this tragedy please. And you need to politicise it today.
When asked about the possibility of gun ownership reform on Friday, your press secretary said: “There is, I am sure, will be, rather, a day for discussion of the usual Washington policy debates, but I do not think today is that day.”
Respectfully Mr President, that is wrong. Today is EXACTLY the right time to be talking about gun control.
Why? Because those who died on Friday didn’t give their lives for anything, Mr President.
They had their lives taken from them.
They didn’t choose to die. They didn’t walk boldly into harms way for some great cause, to defend their country, to fight for a better life, to free others from oppression.
When you’re five-years-old you and you haven’t even had the chance to ask a grown up what ‘death’ means yet, you can’t give your life for anything. When you haven’t heard of the 2nd amendment and you don’t know about the so-called ‘right’ to bear arms and you don’t realise that ‘rights’ even exist… you can’t give your life for anything.
When yours is a world where mum, dad and teacher’s word is law and where the best thing that can happen is the sound of a Mr Whippy van playing Greensleeves and the worst, is tripping in the playground and scraping your knee… you can’t give your life for anything.
When you’re only five-years-old, like some of the children whose lives were brutally cut short today, you’re not cognitively capable of knowing whether or not you would want your death to be used as impetus for change or reform.
So you, Mr President, have to do that for them.
Because those children are dead. And we cannot bring them back. No matter how much we hope and pray that wishing could make it so. But we can honour their memory by making sure that more of their peers do not die in the same way.
You lead a country where it is incredibly difficult to gain traction in the community for reform on gun control. Studies show that even in towns and cities where massacres like this one take place, very few people shift their views as a result.