Though we’ve known for four years that the 2020 US election cycle would be even more fraught than the strange and painful fall of the 2016 elections, most of us still find ourselves a little disoriented these days. For some, the urgency to remove Trump from office has immobilized us. For others, it’s fortified us into action to get out the vote and to sway those who are undecided, apathetic, and reluctant.
In the final five weeks before the election of a lifetime, we asked writers to consider the undecided voter and contribute compelling arguments and ideas for making the world right. Some contributors sent us work that takes on issues with precision and gravity. Others sent us different work, perhaps an even more visceral snapshot of this alarming moment — a one-act play, an open letter, a story of exile. New writing will be published weekdays; we believe its wisdom and strength will help us all navigate the uncertainty ahead.
It’s been almost eight years since the mass shooting that stole the lives of 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary. The 20 children who were murdered that day would now be in high school. Since Sandy Hook — since Columbine, in fact — there’s been a steady stream of mass shootings in our country. I can’t even come close to remembering them all.
As has been pointed out countless times, violent video games are played all over the world and violent movies are shown all over the world, but only in the United States are mass shootings a regular occurrence.
The Republican Party, the so-called Party of Life, has been steadfast in its refusal to take up the kind of meaningful gun control legislation that the majority of Americans agree on: outlawing military-style rifles like the one used at Sandy Hook, limiting magazine capacity, and instituting waiting periods and strict background checks. Their stand is deeply immoral, and it’s indicative of the grotesque intellectual rot at the heart of American Conservatism, a political movement that claims to elevate individual liberty above all other values.
Let’s not dance around the obvious: eight years after being killed by a madman who used an AR-15, the Sandy Hook kids are a little fucking short on individual liberty.
I’m voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris because I believe that the Democratic Party, for all its faults, has finally realized that on the issue of gun control, the time for compromise has passed. People who don’t wish to live their lives armed for war must be able to do so.
That isn’t tyranny. It is the opposite.
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Owen King is the author of the novel Double Feature and co-author of the novel Sleeping Beauties.