Social workers: It’s long past time to challenge the pathology of mass shootings and political stagnation

March 28, 2021

How long do we stand still and watch the carnage roll on, incident after incident, bloodbath after bloodbath? How long do we settle for speculation on ’causes,’ splitting hairs over the contributions of multiple factors – mental illness vs. racist ‘hate’ vs. frayed social relations vs. ideological fanaticism – to the slaughter bench that a U.S. on a rapid downward slide has become?

All those factors, and more, desperately deserve due attention. But in an America beset with multiple and seemingly cascading crises – health, economic, social justice, ecological, political – it is the political stagnation that stands out. How long will we capitulate to the death-cult logic of Second Amendment totalitarians and their political minions? It’s high time to call out elected officials who insist that controls of any kind, on any kind of personal weapon, including assault weapons with the sole purpose of rapid murder, are an unacceptable constraint on liberty, and therefore impossible to forge into policy. It’s time to call them what they are – death enablers, social and political murderers, mass trauma perpetrators and celebrants.

Social workers should have none of this. Social workers protect and empower lives, promote peace and justice, facilitate health and well-being of everyone, and especially the vulnerable. Let’s stop tolerating the anathema of untrammeled ‘gun rights.’ Let’s reject, aggressively, loudly, unceasingly, the numbing resignation – ‘nothing can be done, the gun culture is too strong, elected officials are unwilling to act’ – that accompanies and enables persistent political stagnation. Let’s take the lead and demand thorough and effective gun regulation. Let’s insist that government do what government is meant to do – serve the ‘general welfare’ of ‘we the people,’ and not just the people wielding weapons of destruction.

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