Of Course Today Is the Day to Talk About Gun Control

The entire point of technology is to work to our benefit, not against us. The entire point of being a responsible, reasoned human being is to face our failings head-on, not to hide from them. Those points seem inarguable.

So why is it that the only time we're not allowed to talk about guns as agents of horrific devastation is on the days they're used for just that?

There are echoes, familiar ones, from the gun advocates today. They say not to politicize today's tragedy in Connecticut. They say today is not the day to talk about gun control. They say it's too soon. They are wrong.

Guns are technology. And since the Industrial age, when a technology causes harm, it has immediately been regulated to make sure that harm doesn't happen again. When the Challenger exploded, we didn't waste any time finding out what went wrong. When a meningitis outbreak swept the United States in October, we didn't wait until people stopped dying to identify the steroid that caused it. When a software bug turned hundreds of thousands of Toyotas into unstable land-rockets, no one shouted politicization when the recall was announced. We fixed it.

But guns don't kill people, people do. Fine. By that logic, cars don't kill people. But we still have speed limits. We still have to wear seat belts. We still need to take a driver's test. And yet it's far harder in most parts of this country to get a learner's permit than a gun permit.

Let's not forget the people who manage to admonish us for talking about guns while at the same time raising the specter of 9/11:

We didn't blame airplanes, no. But you know what we did do that very first day? Grounded all of them until we figured out how to make them safer. Then we figured out how to make sure the wrong people don't get on them.

Unlike cars and planes, a gun is a thing that is designed to help you injure other things (ideally deer or robbers, but really anything you point it at). They're built with a degree of inherent malice. So why should they, of all things, get a pass? Why should we hem and haw over this one piece of technology when we take such decisive action everywhere else?

The only answer I can think of is that gun tragedies are so much more tragic. And that's true, they are. But it's about time we realized that's just all the more reason not to delay. Not this time, not ever.