Don’t you just love it when a problem occurs and the one who caused it says something like, “Now is not the time to talk about it.”
Such as when Harvey hit Houston, a hurricane made into a monster by the extra-warm Gulf of Mexico, and all that additional warmth in the ocean produced by human-caused climate change. Streets became rivers, houses and people were swept away.
Hurricane Irma leveled towns as it roared through the Caribbean, twisting and killing in September.
Fossil fuel burning – oil, gasoline, natural gas – warmed the air, warmed the ocean, and what did Trump’s EPA head Scott Pruitt say? Now is not the time to talk about climate change.
Seriously. That is exactly the best time to talk about it. When cities are inundated is when folks need to know why. Floridians want to know if there is any way to prevent unprecedented storm surges and record sustained winds sometimes nearing 200 mph, ripping off roofs and flattening trees and buildings.
When conflagrations are burning down the astonishingly beautiful forests of the Pacific Northwest, when iconic parklands and treasured places are in flames and we cannot breathe, when we wake up in my town of Portland and everything is covered with the ash from these firestorms, that is precisely when we need to talk about changing course and fixing this.
Now 59 people shot dead and more than 530 wounded from automatic gunfire and what does Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House spokesperson, say in response to questions about gun control? “Now is not the time to talk about it.”
Hogwash. It is precisely the time to talk about it.
Why, indeed, does Donald Trump immediately tweet about his travel ban and wall after every news item about either a terror attack anywhere on Earth or an undocumented Hispanic person getting a parking ticket (this is almost not exaggerated)?
Time to talk. Time to study. Time to act.
Seriously address anthropogenic climate chaos. Reward clean energy. Rapidly phase out Keystone pipeline dirty tar sands oil. Rapidly phase out coal-burning electric-generating plants. Radically reduce the highly fossil-fuel-consuming U.S. foreign military presence and thus carbon footprint. Now.
Repeal the stupid Second Amendment. That is how citizens, towns and states can regain their rights. As it is, when a city tries to ban certain weapons the NRA rolls in with their kill squad and finds plaintiffs to sue. The Supreme Court eventually says, hey, no local or state control for you – it’s in the Constitution. Gun rights trump human rights.
Ironically, those who historically clamor for states’ rights are now the ones smashing states’ rights. They wanted states’ rights to discriminate against various races, genders, sexual identities, and unions, most notably in the infamous U.S. Supreme Court in the 1857 Dred Scott decision in favor of slave owners but many times since. Now, hypocritically, they want to do away with a state’s right to ban as many proven killer weapons as they wish.
Some of us want to live amongst others in civil society in which issues are resolved without guns, where someone with a concealed mental health issue cannot carry a concealed weapon–because no one is carrying weapons in that town.
Some want to live in states with essentially no limits to weapon ownership short of a nuclear bomb. Great. Good luck with that, Texas and Idaho. But when Chicago – formerly the murder capital of the U.S. before it banned certain guns – tries to pass bans on some guns and they are told they cannot, that the ban is lifted, what sort of freedom is that?
Guns do not produce freedom; guns are often the direct enemy of freedom. Each locality needs its freedom back, the freedom as it defines it.
Now is the time to talk about it.
Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoice director.