Because we didn’t outlaw airplanes

end gun violence Photo by Katie Godowski on

OMGoodness. Could someone really use this argument as a reason not to pass gun control legislation? Yes, indeed.

Wait just a minute, Mr. Scalise. You’re using some pretty crazy logic, and some kind of quite selective memory. That’s a little like saying we didn’t outlaw rental trucks after the Oklahoma City Bombing.

Yes, on 9/11, three planes crashed killing thousands of people. The weapons of choice for the terrorists were box cutters.

I wish we’d respond to gun violence as we did to the 9/11 attack.

Some readers may not have a memory that goes back before 9/11. Here are just a few of the ways airport travelers’ lives changed after 9/11:

  • We can’t carry potential weapons onto planes. This can include things like dart guns, knitting needles and can openers, and larger nail clippers. (Prio to 9/11, I brought a souvenir dart gun home from my Africa trip in my carry-on bag.)
  • We all go through security checks that include luggage, wallet, computers, devices, and body scans.
  • Only passengers can go to the gates. Before 9/11, I could accompany travelers and see them off, or meet them at the gate when they arrived.
  • Travels are limited to the amount of liquid they can carry in their carry-on.
  • Planes don’t take off with checked bags if the passenger is not on the plane.
  • People are put on no-fly lists if they are flagged as potential threats.
  • Identification is verified before travelers pass through security.

Our outrage resulted in immediate and long-lasting change. We didn’t wait. We didn’t act incrementally.

Most of these things happened almost immediately before any dots were identified, let alone, connected. As new threats emerged, security changed. Technology adapted as perpetrators adjusted their tactics.

We all put up with a little inconvenience for the safety of each other.

Why can’t we do the same with gun safety?

Oh, and just to close the circle on the Oklahoma City Bombing, Timothy McVey used fertilizer to make his bomb. The Department of Homeland Security now tracks the sale of fertilizer. The regulations complement a separate set of rules known as the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards, or CFATS, that require certain facilities that possess any of 300 different chemicals to meet varying levels of security precautions.

We can make life safer when we want to.

We just don’t have the will to protect each other with reasonable controls when it comes to guns.