Now is not the time

Now is not the time to talk about gun control. 

When blood is fresh on the ground, when the smell of gun powder is in the air, and the screams of the innocent still ring in our ears. When the panic is still fresh, and cell phones are still ringing unanswered in the pockets of people who won't reach for them again.

Better to wait until next week, when the country has moved on. Better to wait until a more convenient time, when hearts aren't throbbing and eyes don't ache with tears. Wait until emotions aren't so high, until we can talk about the vague threats of evil hearts instead of the physical tools they use to carry their intentions out.

Now is not the time to talk about climate change.

When whole countries and cities lie in ruins, every structure demolished by winds and ocean water. When millions of people have been displaced or killed by floods in South Asia or a mudslide in Sierra Leone or earthquakes in Mexico or wildfires in the northwest United States.

Better to wait until next week, when the fundraising dies down, when the waterlogged video footage and pictures get drowned in a sea of scandal. Better to wait until the relief efforts have ceased, the helpers have left for the dry, solid ground of their homes. Wait until the voices of desperation and faces of ruin have faded from our memories.

Now is not the time to talk about police brutality.

When the neighborhoods are organized and the activists are active, when the hashtags are trending and the videos are on repeat. When at least 737 families have been robbed of loved ones this year, and there are still three months left for hundreds more to reach for something too quickly and be knocked off their feet by a knee-jerk bullet. 

Better to wait until after the anthem, after the game, when the beer is gone and the channels are flipped. Better to wait until the stands are emptied of all but used nacho containers, plastic cups, and ditched foam fingers. Wait until retirement or the off-season, when no one feels obligated to listen, when no one has to see.

Now is not the time to talk about white supremacy.

When the men are marching in the streets, accompanied by firearms and fire, wearing swastikas and chanting Nazi slogans. When Jewish people and people of color receive hourly death threats on Twitter, with pictures of nooses and ovens, and police officers are targets of execution-style attack.

Better to wait until a less divisive time, when you won't be accused of being political or over-dramatic. Better to wait until the name-calling stops and the whole story comes out, until both sides can be heard. Wait to throw around accusations of supremacy or violence until the studies are done, the reports are filed, the statistics can be weighed.

Wait until it's too late.

JusticeAmy ClarkeComment