Calvin Coolidge has been quoted for saying that, when more and more people are out of work, unemployment results. By somewhat similar reasoning, when more and more people own guns, gun violence results. Which is why this headline should be about as surprising as the news that, today, the sun rose in the east and will sink in the west.
Over the past three weeks, I have often found myself thinking that what bothers me most about the presidential election's outcome is not as much the idea of Donald Trump as president as the empowerment of white nationalists in our larger culture as a consequence of his victory. People on the left are rightly expressing their fear on line and in the streets--and, in unbelievable blame-the-victim style, are being lectured on the need to chill out and wait for bad things to actually happen before they get up.
The expressions of fear are, in part, a form of mourning, and, to borrow a phrase, telling people how to mourn is tantamount to telling them how to pray. But, beyond that, the fear is far from imaginary. In the past few decades, conservative victories have been followed by spikes in violence. People in Oklahoma City can tell you all about it. So can Gabby Giffords. And when incidents like this, this, and this--and the creation of this--occur, they have every reason to fear that the dumpster fire for our democracy has already been started.
We cannot let the rise of white nationalism become normalized. That's why I will not use the phrase "alt-right"; I will look the phenomenon in the eye and call it what it actually is. And all of us need to be vigilant, even hyper-vigilant, when it comes to preventing acts of assault (and worse) and/or stopping them when they occur. And, regardless of the election's outcome, we all need to work, and fight, for common-sense gun regulation that faces a harsh reality easy access to guns is easy access to murder.