On guns and race, laying aside what might have been to go forward from here
An awful Supreme Court decision on race still echoes over the decades. Will we let the same dynamic hold back the fight against gun violence?
Separate facilities by race lingered for years in America after segregation was affirmed by the Supreme Court. (Photo courtesy Library of Congress)
The consequences of bad actions by powerful people tend to far outlast the bad actors’ lifetimes, leaving us often to wonder how things might have been. Imagine, for example, the world we could have inherited if the apparent effort to poison Adolf Hitler at the Hotel Kaiserhof in Berlin in 1930 hadn’t failed, perhaps because Hitler was vegetarian.1
But wishing is passive, not to mention useless when the wishes involve what’s already done. Fantasizing about what-ifs can lull us into a lazy failure to face reality. People who make a difference, by contrast, confront adversity with imagination and energy; instead of grasping for what was or imagining what might have been, they go on from where they are.
As we grapple as a nation with some tough issues these days, we’d be well advised to take lessons from those who choose to act rather than mope.