Protecting individual rights from government overreach is at the core of what sets the US apart from the rest of the world. It helped the country break free from a monarchy and withstand the pull of fascism, dictatorships and communism. But in today’s interconnected global world of easily manufactured weapons and easily transmitted disease, protecting freedoms is coming at an ever greater cost. We’re used to thinking of the fight for freedom in terms of wars fought abroad, like the long fight in Afghanistan.
But America’s longest war isn’t in Afghanistan, it’s right here at home. Far more deadly and uniquely American than any military conflict, the US gun war is raging in US cities and suburbs, in schools, and offices, at churches and grocery stores. Americans who didn’t volunteer for duty are on the front lines and dying for your freedoms every single day. The latest battlefield erupted in Indianapolis Thursday night, where eight people were gunned down in a few minutes at a FedEx facility. The “liberty” promised by the Declaration of Independence is interfering with the “life” and the “pursuit of happiness” in ways the Founding Fathers could never have imagined. Given the choice, with help from conservative courts and Second Amendment true believers, the country is choosing personal freedom over public safety, giving some of its people a feeling of liberty, but also causing many people to die in the process.
Biden called the endless roll of mass shootings “a national embarrassment” at a Friday afternoon news conference, but he pushed back on a question about his administration prioritizing infrastructure over pushing for new gun control, calling on Congress to act. “It doesn’t mean that I can’t also be working at the same time on the economy and on Covid, but it’s not a question of my being able to set the agenda in the Senate as to what they will move to first.” In today’s US, where everything seems like a partisan, political fight, the subject might be Covid restrictions or gun control, but it’s generally the same Republican lawmakers and governors pushing liberty versus a science and public health crowd pushing statistics about lives lost.