Every week on the Trinity Rep blog we have a quick note, thought, idea, or message from our Arthur P. Solmon and Sally E. Lapides Artistic Director, Curt Columbus. Join us each week for the newest post in “To my friends, from Curt.”

Dear Friends,

I’ve been thinking a lot about tragedy this week, in light of the events in Las Vegas. We often talk about tragedies being “senseless” or “inexplicable.” In both of our shows running this week (Skeleton Crew and Death of a Salesman), we have characters asking the question – “why did this happen” in response to tragic or monumental events. So, perhaps, this interrogation of tragedy is a part of human nature, and asking why something happened is just part of the process of grieving, of healing, of moving on in life.

But as national gun tragedies become a matter of routine and horrifyingly commonplace, I can’t help but feel that we need to stop asking “why” and start asking “how” things like this happen, repeatedly, in our country.

When it became clear that there was a national health crisis due to smoking cigarettes, we made common sense laws to help protect people from unwanted, second-hand smoke. We preserved the rights of smokers to continue to smoke, while protecting the innocent. Why is it so hard to protect innocent people from gun violence? Isn’t there a common sense approach that can protect the rights of gun owners, while stopping tragedies like the one in Las Vegas from happening again and again?

I know there is, and I would hope all of us can be part of that solution. Let’s leave the interrogation of “why” tragedy to events on the stage or in other tragic narratives. Let’s do something sensible about the “how,” in order to stop these mass shootings from happening in the first place.