Playing Politics At The Expense of American Lives

Opinion

 
on August 21 2012 2:38 PM
Sikh temple shooting
Police officer take cover outside a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin Reuters

On Sept. 11, 2001, America was attacked.  In the weeks that followed, America responded, not with partisan accusations or political games, but by coming together.  We put politics aside and, for a moment, we were all just Americans. 

America's response post-9/11 is the same one we should have to any domestic terror attack or act of violence, from the Aurora shooting to the Sikh Temple to the Family Research Council.  More often than not, however, our response is just the opposite. 

Be it in the mainstream media or the Twittersphere, acts of violence are used as political opportunities to demonize the other side. In the process, the innocent lives that have been lost are forgotten; they become a mere footnote to the political bickering that fills the headlines.

Consider the Aurora movie theater shooting.  It didn't take more than a few minutes for ABC's Brian Ross to incorrectly suggest a connection between the shooter and the Tea Party.  And the Family Research Council, or FRC, domestic terror attack has devolved into a back and forth between the FRC and the Southern Poverty Law Center, or SPLC, over whether the FRC should be dubbed a hate group.  Making an act of violence political -- as has been done repeatedly over the last few weeks -- is not only a disservice to the victims, but to the American people, too. 

After 9/11, Americans did not just unite politically -- together, we took measures to ensure that this would never happen again. We expanded airport security, secured plane cockpits, cultivated intelligence activity, revamped our national security efforts, and created the Department of Homeland Security.  In short, we did everything in our power to make certain there would never be another 9/11.

We have seen nothing resembling this in our response to domestic terror attacks.  We should be debating the use of metal detectors in public places and armed guards in organizations that are political or religious in nature. We owe it to the victims to make every effort in securing our movie theaters, our places of worship, and our businesses.

Instead, the dialogue we need to have has been sidelined by back and forth political accusations.  Domestic acts of terror ought to be treated just as foreign terror attacks.  And shooters should not be dismissed as deranged people from the left or the right but as grave, legitimate threats to our national security. 

We have had three shootings in the last 30 days.  The system is broken and needs to be fixed.  I urge you to help change the dialogue and, in doing so, help Americans unite and address the massacres that have consumed our nation.  It is our duty to honor victims and to ensure there are no victims in the future.

Kayleigh McEnany is a writer and political activist who graduated from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and studied at Oxford University. She is the founder of www.RealReaganConservative.com. She writes every Tuesday for the International Business Times.

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