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Merry Christmas from the Massies

The art of conversation is the art of hearing as well as of being heard

-William Hazlitt

Only in America can you be blamed for being connected to a school shooting after sharing a Christmas photo of you and your family. This is precisely what happened to Congressman Thomas Massie (KY). On Saturday, Dec. 4, Massie shared a picture of his family posing with rifles in front of a Christmas tree. It’s worth noting that each family member seems abundantly aware of gun safety, as nobody has their fingers on the trigger and the guns are pointing up, away from everyone in the room.

Despite Alec Baldwin’s accidental killing, social media didn’t seem as concerned with gun safety as they were with the fact that the Massie’s were armed in the first place. On Nov. 30, four students from Oxford High School in Michigan were shot and killed by Ethan Crumbley, a 15-year-old who had access to a handgun at this parents’ home. Many social media viewers were offended by the Massie’s Christmas card because they felt it was insensitive to the current situation.

Fred Guttenberg, who lost his daughter Jamie as a result of the Parkland school shooting in 2018, shared the last photo he ever took of his daughter and her grave in response to Massie’s Christmas photo. Manuel Oliver, who lost his son during the Parkland massacre, said that Massie’s tweet was “in the worst taste ever” while talking with CNN. It wasn’t just leftists who used Massie’s family portrait to virtue signal, however. Former President Donald Trump’s ex-communications director Anthony Scaramucci told Twitter he would fund any candidate running against Massie for his congressional seat.

The outrage in this case appears misguided. According to a reliable source, Massie and his family took the Christmas photo before the Oxford shooting occurred. Regardless of timing, isolated incidents where firearms are used to commit atrocities are often used to control the narrative surrounding gun control. Calls for gun control were at an all time low prior to the incident at Oxford High School. The media often uses tragedies and exploits victims to gain support for their agenda.

Every time there is mass shooting, the event is immediately politicized. We don’t even wait to hear the facts and details of a case before asserting our emotion-based opinions. Many people take to Twitter as if they’re experts demanding that they know the solution to these complex issues. The calls for more gun control grow louder, but evidence of gun control’s efficacy remains to be seen. We have gun control in this country, for example. Ethan Crumbley was not legally allowed to possess the handgun he committed his acts of violence with. Do we really believe that more laws are going to prevent gun violence, or is it time to consider a different solution?

I liked Thomas Massie’s Christmas photo because I think it helps neutralize a conversation that often weighs heavily one way following a tragedy. We shouldn’t be afraid of guns. They’re an excellent source of self-defense. Instead of promoting getting rid of guns entirely, an unrealistic expectation, we should be promoting gun safety and normalizing their presence in society. We have a constitutional right to bear arms, and that’s not by mistake. Massie and his family legally own their registered firearms. They underwent background checks and were determined eligible for their purchases.

Instead of allowing the media to put a chilling effect on speech defending the Second Amendment, Massie shared his photo with the internet and kept the conversation alive. People were able to debate their points of view, and Massie is the type of congressman that listens to what the people have to say. He may not agree with you, but he hears you, and that’s more than can be said for many of our representatives in Congress.

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