Following the recent Orlando mass shooting that left 49 dead, musician David Byrne has penned an essay proposing that we reframe the issue of gun violence in order to achieve stricter gun control.
“Guns are primarily a public health hazard — now we have to start viewing, and treating, them as such,” the Talking Head frontman writes. “Not only that, but for all the freedoms gun ownership supposedly entails, countless other freedoms have been curtailed — at schools, on university campuses, movie theaters, housing projects, nightclubs, bedrooms, and city streets. Nowhere is safe. This is a public health issue just like the dangers posed by driving, smoking, vaccinations, obesity and poverty.”
He goes on to compare the gun control issue to seat belts, which are now mandatory in many U.S. states. “People argued against the mandatory use of seat belts, and I suspect there are folks whose grandparents still sit on their seat belts in protest claiming, ‘The government can’t tell me what to do!’” he says. “But most of us accept that the huge number of lives, medical expenses, productivity loss, and pain and suffering saved is a benefit not just to those involved in random accidents, but to everyone. We have come to realize that in some situations we all benefit by giving up some choice.”
Byrne begins the essay by claiming the situation is “not hopeless.” “No matter what some of my friends seem to imply, I firmly believe we can have gun control and reduce gun violence in this country,” he writes. “Allow me to be optimistic. At this point, any cause for hope is worth considering.”
Read Byrne’s full essay here.