We are taught from a young age to be respectful and quiet during moments of silence. But one Democratic lawmaker, fed up with how many “moments” he’s had to be silent for after mass shootings in the United States, has had enough.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-California) walked out of a moment of silence this week that was in recognition of those who died during the Sutherland Springs mass shooting on Sunday. Lieu said that while his colleagues can honor the dead in their own ways, he himself cannot bear to sit through another moment of silence without doing something to stem mass shootings themselves.
"...I myself have participated in many [moments of silence], but I can't do this again," he said in a video. "I've been to too many moments of silences. In just my short career in Congress, three of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history have occurred. I will not be silent. What we need is we need action, we need to pass gun safety legislation now."
Why I walked out of yet another moment of silence on the House floor for a gun massacre. We cannot remain silent. https://t.co/F4j4sCsOFw— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) November 7, 2017
Lieu said he is hopeful that his action can help others recognize that these moments of silence need to be matched with legislation that will prevent future mass shootings. Lieu is specifically promoting strengthening background checks and implementing a ban on assault rifles, as well as bump stock accessories.
Some people have commented on his Facebook video suggesting his decision to walk out is disrespectful to those who have died. But Lieu has a point: The greater disrespect is seeing a significant problem in America, and doing nothing in response to it.
Lieu’s colleagues have stood through too many moments of silence following devastating mass shootings. They have so far offered no response on how to fix this epidemic, and Lieu’s departure from the House highlights his fellow legislators’ repeated mistakes of the past.
Banner/thumbnail image credit: U.S. House of Representatives