On Friday night, San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler told reporters that he doesn’t plan to come out during the National Anthem “until I feel better about the direction of this country.” In a blog post, Kapler explained that “Every time I place my hand over my heart and remove my hat, I’m participating in a self congratulatory glorification of the ONLY country where these mass shootings take place.”
Kapler is correct that the United States leads the world in mass shootings, and even more tragic is the fact that the Republican Party has no sincere interest in gun control. Invitations for meaningful discussions often result in knee-jerk ad hominem attacks. For example, in response to Kapler’s post, Erick Aguilar, a Republican running for Florida’s 4th District, tweeted, “Did Gabe Kapler serve in the military or is he a coward that talks shit about my country?”
If nothing could be done to solve America’s unique gun violence problem, that would be bleak indeed. Fortunately, a lack of concrete, effective steps is not the issue—it’s the political climate, and we must change it as soon as possible. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke at Harvard University’s commencement this week about how her government responded to the Christchurch mosque attacks in 2019, stating, “We knew we needed significant gun reform, and so that is what we did.”
Such a straightforward, commonsense approach is not unique to New Zealand. On the contrary, the typical response to mass shootings across the world follows a positive pattern, according to reporting from The New York Times. Following a tragedy, “Officials impose new restrictions on gun ownership. Mass shootings become rarer. Homicides and suicides tend to decrease, too.” The United States, which needs to adopt stronger gun legislation the most, habitually refuses to do so.
Following a mass shooting, Republicans respond by digging in their heels and doubling down, and sometimes pushing for even looser restrictions. The Supreme Court happens to be on the verge of releasing a major decision on gun rights. Despite the recent bloodshed in Uvalde and Buffalo, the 6-3 conservative Court is expected to rule in favor of expanding the Second Amendment by making it easier to carry guns in public, according to Business Insider.
Enacting new gun control laws to end America’s mass shooting epidemic is critical. As we inch closer to Election Day, let’s remain mindful of the fact that it’s only one of the many alarming and urgent issues on the ballot this year. With June upon us, it’s not too early to make sure that you and any like-minded friends and family are registered and determined to vote for what is right this November. Let’s step up our efforts to end the year with the blue tidal wave America desperately needs.