Call to action

A gunman opened fire at a Connecticut elementary school last week, killing 20 children and six adults. The horrific incident left this nation searching for answers.

And, as the latest in a string of mass shootings, it also launched the conversation on the topic of gun rights and mental health. The same conversation sparked earlier this year by similar shootings at a mall in Oregon, a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and a movie theater in Colorado—the same conversation brought about by the January 8, 2011, shooting in Tucson, Ariz., that left six people dead.

The shootings happen, and we talk and we scrutinize and we debate.

And then we move on.

Maybe this time it will be different.

Certainly, this one seemed to shock us even more: 20 children gunned down.

The shooter, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, was remembered as smart but socially isolated. Lanza's mother, Nancy—his first victim—was remembered as a gun enthusiast who legally owned the weapons, including a semi-automatic rifle that Adam used to carry out the shootings.

Maybe this time will be different.

Yet, even as details of the shooting emerged some tried to retreat, including Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, who declared “now is not the time” to talk about gun control.

If not now, when?

Addressing the nation just hours after the killings, however, President Barack Obama signaled it is time.

“We're going to have to come together and take meaningful action,” the president said, as he struggled to keep his composure.

This isn't about politicizing a tragedy. This is about preventing future mass killings. On Sunday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein announced plans to reintroduce legislation to ban assault weapons.

It's a start.