We see it once again: Another tragic deadly mass shooting, this time in Virginia Beach where 12 innocent unsuspecting American citizens were gunned down.
This is just another in a long line of mass shootings that have continually and consistently victimized our country over the last few years. The ripple effects and heartbreak this causes are not limited to the direct families involved themselves, but to the community and neighborhoods they live in, as well as to our nation as a whole.
Will we once again do nothing as a country in response to this epidemic of gun violence?
Each time a mass shooting happens in America, it's as if a large rock is thrown in a lake, and the concentric circles of waves extend far beyond the initial splash. The ripples flow far and wide, and when nothing is done in response by our leaders, the erosion of our democracy and our common humanity slowly and methodically occurs.
Can you imagine if there was a virus we discovered that we realized was killing people in diverse community after community, leaving families without fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers, leaving classrooms, church pews, office suites and parking lots drenched in blood -- and we did nothing to respond? Citizens of all persuasions would be up in arms and there would be both an immediate policy and medical response to stop this virus.
This is what gun violence in America is, and the virus is too many guns in the wrong hands.
One must ask today if our democracy is in such dysfunction and so broken that even though two-thirds of citizens want stricter gun legislation, including universal background checks, banning high capacity ammo clips, and tracking gun sales on an integrated national database, nothing is being put into law. Many state legislators across America want this to happen, but it is stopped at the national level. Democrats in the House of Representatives passed some of these measures months ago, but that reform hasn't been acted upon by Republicans who hold power in the Senate.
This is a tragedy for not only the families and the communities like Virginia Beach who have lost loved ones, but for the country as a whole which grows increasingly pessimistic about the ability of our republic to respond to a growing crisis. This is one big reason why so many Americans have lost faith and trust in our political institutions: We know something should be done, but too many of our leaders ignore another crisis facing our nation.
An argument is often made that many of the proposed gun reform laws won’t specifically deal with an individual crisis, and wouldn’t prevent every mass shooting. This would have been like telling Jonas Salk not to invent the polio vaccine because it wouldn’t stop tuberculosis or malaria.
Yes, gun reform won’t prevent every mass shooting, but it is a start and it will stop many of the incidents. Isn’t it time that we as a country demonstrate who we are, that we want to at least try and stop mass gun violence, and do at least something? If we want to get citizens to believe again in the ability of a great country to solve problems, a good place to start would be standing against violence by making some important attempts in preventing the scourge of guns.
I am a gun owner myself; I live and have raised children in Texas, and the vast majority of fellow gun-owning Texans want some degree of gun reform -- as is true in every state of the Union.
We can do this if our leaders merely listen again to the American public and ignore the lobbying of special interest groups. We can’t be so numb to all this that we just move on from another tragic mass shooting.
We can’t be so conditioned to violence that we accept the ripples across the sea of our humanity, and don’t strive to stop the rocks from plunging us further into waves of dysfunction and destruction.
Matthew Dowd is an ABC News analyst and special correspondent. Opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of ABC News.