Be Careful Using a Tragedy as a Chess Piece for Politics (from October 3, 2017 – for The Daily Nerv)

Night aerial view, Las Vegas, Nevada by Carol M. Highsmith [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As news poured in about the mass shooting that took place in Las Vegas this past Sunday night, what initially looked to be a sad situation has turned out to be one of the most heartbreaking tragedies that our country has ever faced. After the devastating events that took place in Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, Orlando, amongst others, most of us would hope and pray that no community would ever have to deal with such evil again.

In addition to having to process the emotions one may go through when hearing of a tragedy, or the loss of a loved one, all kinds of introspection takes place about the evil person whose unfathomable actions caused such pain and suffering. Understandably, those mourning have questions and they need something that typically will never come and eludes them — closure.

Now, processing the anger, the hurt, and the sadness that may come with the catastrophe in Nevada is justifiable. From the actual person’s pain to their close friend’s and family’s to public figures speaking about the event, the innate right is theirs to feel downcast about a devastating situation, even when it does not directly affect them.

However, what is genuinely unhelpful is politicizing a tragedy soon after it happens.

People have not even completely mourned their loss and gained some kind of healing before some of our more famous citizens threw their opinion out in the open. Hillary Clinton jumped on the bandwagon quickly, but others were just as quick to respond to her false statements. It never looks good to politicize an issue that you are either completely clueless on or just not as experienced with the specifics of the hotly debated topic.

Late night television host Jimmy Kimmel was quite emotional about the recent events and felt the need to call out politicians (specifically Republicans) about their possible connections with the National Rifle Association of America. Of course, he was commended by many for his honesty and his calling out of politicians who seem to be against any form of gun control.

I do wonder if he actually reached out to any of these individuals to get their thoughts on why or why not they did not back certain policies dealing with gun control.

One musician that was there at the concert shared that he changed his thoughts on the gun control issue because of the tragic murders that he witnessed. All respect is due him for his honesty and he should not be denigrated by anyone for changing his views because that is his right.

What becomes problematic is when individuals decide to change their views immediately on having been a part of such a dreadful moment in their life. One must be careful to balance their emotion with rational thinking after much introspection and not during the heat of the moment.

Washington Post article perhaps had the best take on this issue: “There is a right way to “politicize” mass shootings, and there is a wrong way to politicize them.” I would argue that timing is much more important in this case. We all may politicize an issue, but we all should think about when we do it and are we doing it with clearness of thought.

Originally published on The Daily Nerv – August 16, 2017

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