Stephen Henderson: What Should Be Done About Gun Violence?

Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson wonders what, if anything, can be done to curb gun violence in this essay.

Our thoughts and prayers aren’t enough. And really, if you think about gun violence in this country – how many lives it claims, how often we got bogged down arguing about solutions… truer words were probably never spoken.

Our thoughts and prayers are not enough.

That’s what President Obama said this week after yet another mass shooting, this one at a community college in Oregon, claiming nine innocent lives.

This is the umpteenth mass shooting in this country, and that number doesn’t even compare to the number of single deaths from gunshots in our nation. Every once in awhile, it seems, this problem catches the public’s attention and we begin to chat, or argue, about solutions.

But we never, ever, seem to get anywhere. And so thoughts and prayers are really all we have to offer the families of victims and the people whose communities are absolutely devastated by gun violence every day.

We can’t decide whether gun control is something we can reconcile against the Second Amendment – and a very, very powerful lobby that has, in my view, warped the interpretation of the Second Amendment. And we even get tangled up in whether really strict gun control – something that seems to work in other nations — would be effective here.

I guess you can call that some kind of American exceptionalism, right?

It’s obvious the president has had enough, but this isn’t even the first time for him. Remember his remarks after Sandy Hook, when a crazy man killed school children in Connecticut? Remember how the president asked us how we could watch our children being killed, and do nothing?

And what did we do?


I want to hear from you: How should we solve gun violence in this country? Or – better question – CAN we? Is the Second Amendment inviolable?


  • Stephen Henderson is host of Detroit Today and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. He is Executive Editor of BridgeDetroit and host of American Black Journal on Detroit Public Television.