Being a victim does not make you an expert. Further, being a victim does not make you morally superior. People need to remember this.
CBS Sunday Morning ran an editorial this morning from Shauna Saxton of Odessa, Texas. She “locked eyes” with the murderer in Texas. Fortunately for her and her family, she had the presence of mind to hit the accelerator and get out of there. Nonetheless, she is calling on Congress to take action.
I’m not sure how Mrs. Saxton has become the public face of the tragedy in Odessa and Midland. Neither she nor her family were injured and I’m thankful for that. A Google search on her name and Odessa pulls up many stories about her experience along with multiple interviews. In a sense, she has become the David Hogg of the Odessa tragedy – there but not injured.
Mrs. Saxton gave a tearful commentary intended to tug on your heartstrings. It is aimed at conservatives to make them agree that we need more gun control.
This awful experience has changed me. Things I once believed to be true have now been brought into question. Do private citizens need access to weapons as deadly as an assault rifle? This question and others like it are a hot topic here in Texas, and in other states around the nation. It is a very difficult question. How do we promote public safety whilst protecting the rights of people who choose to bear arms?
The problem, by necessity, will require compromise from both sides. No one is going to get exactly what they want; life just isn’t that way. (I learned this lesson as a young girl with six brothers.) But we can look for common ground and be willing to give and take.
There are two problems with this argument. First, the ideas being promoted – red flag laws, assault weapons (sic) bans, and mag restrictions – would not have changed a thing in Odessa and Midland or anywhere else. Dangerous people are going to use whatever tool is at their disposal. Red flag laws remove the weapon but not the dangerous person.
In this case, the murderer reportedly obtained his firearm from an illegal manufacturer making any sort of universal background check irrelevant.
The second problem with her argument is that the only side giving up anything will be gun owners. The gun prohibitionists will be getting something. The only compromise they make is not to take everything now.
Mrs. Saxton concludes:
As Congress reconvenes, I call on all its members to be men and women of action. I implore our leaders to recognize this growing danger for what it is, and act upon it. If we continue to do nothing, these tragedies will repeat themselves, and more innocent lives will be lost.
To the leaders of this great country, I say, take up the mantle of the responsibility you have been given. Be courageous. Stand for those who you represent. We pray daily for you that you will do the right thing, and that you will be honorable in your work, indeed, that you will find a solution by which all Americans can benefit.
We must take action. We must do something. Doing nothing is not an option.
Doing nothing is always an option. As a former student of public policy at the graduate level, doing nothing is always on the table. Indeed, doing nothing is often the best option. “Doing something” in response to a tragic event leads to bad and ineffective policies.
I’m afraid that in the current political climate politicians will agree with Mrs. Saxton and think they have “to do something”. It won’t save anyone but “they did something”.
UPDATE: The video of Mrs. Saxton’s commentary has been removed from both YouTube and from the CBS News website. You get this message when you click on the link to it above: “The page may have been removed, had its name changed, or is just temporarily unavailable.” Interesting.