What happened in Las Vegas isn’t just about guns.
It isn’t just about mental health.
It isn’t just about violence and terror.
And while it isn’t just about leadership either, that’s what we need first as we confront the ugly reality of mass violence in Las Vegas, Orlando, San Bernardino, Sandy Hook, Columbine, Oklahoma City and so many other places.
We’re now hearing words of compassion for the grieving population of Las Vegas, as we have heard too many times in the past. Politicians offer condolences, saying this isn’t the time to make such a tragic event about politics.
We have to ask: When will it be time? When can we have a meaningful examination of this American crisis of mass violence and the others that have come before it.
Until Americans are willing to talk about their sacred cows and until American leaders are willing to risk offending voters or donors, we’re condemned to witness more violent scenes.
We know we must protect Second Amendment rights. We know we must respect the many people suffering from mental illness who don’t turn to violence. We know we must engage in a debate that requires open minds and open hearts and with the victims — yesterday’s and tomorrow’s — in mind. We know we need an honest accounting of the legitimate options we have, and what it will take for us to act as a nation.
We know we must talk about how to stop sick people who wield weapons of mass destruction — which is, let’s be honest, what we are witnessing. These include drivers in speeding cars ramming sidewalks full of people, trucks full of diesel fuel and fertilizer, and guns that allow a lone madmen to shoot 500 people.
We also know this: Compounding this crisis of mass violence is a massive crisis of leadership.
It is far easier to be a follower than a leader, and up to this point too many politicians have taken the easy way out. Now is the time for leaders who will help our nation determine and address the causes of mass violence.
We need leaders who will force us to have a hard, honest debate. We need leaders who will follow the truth where it leads. We need leaders who think not of what they will say at election time, but what they will do to prevent the next act from occurring in their hometown.
Because this isn’t just about facing grieving families after a tragedy. It’s about why our leaders continue to do nothing. It’s about doing the hard thing that’s the right thing.
Unsigned editorials express the opinion of the Statesman Editorial Board.