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We The People

October 3, 2017


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Words fail on a day like today.  They can’t make sense of the senseless.  They can’t bring back what was lost.  They can’t heal what’s been broken.  Yet I feel compelled to use them.  I realize they won’t do any of those things, but my hurting heart needs them all the same.

Today was a reminder of what man is capable of inflicting on his fellow man.  It was yet another example of random violence, of carefully orchestrated chaos and destruction.  Our collective response was a call to “pray for Vegas,” a sort of all-too-familiar shock, a feeling of sickening déjà vu given voice on social media.  We hashtag our grief and ask one another, “What is this world coming to?”

But deep down we know it will happen again.  Because we live in a country where a perceived threat to our rights takes precedence over actual human lives.  The lives of children, massacred in a classroom.  The lives of friends coming together to celebrate in a nightclub.  The lives of concert-goers cornered like fish in a barrel.  We make all the right noises, we send out “thoughts and prayers,” yet we’re offended by any discussion of how we might prevent such tragedies, saying it’s “too soon,” that “political opportunists” shouldn’t take advantage of these sorts of things to push their own agendas…even if those “agendas” would save lives.

We are a nation of hypocrites.  Of willfully ignorant citizens coddled into believing we can have it both ways: we can mourn the lives lost in such tragedies while maintaining our stance on gun control.  We’ve been sold a lie based in fear and it’s literally killing us.

Here are the facts.  75% of mass shootings are committed by gun owners who legally obtained their weapons.  No one wants to take hunters’ rifles away, or say that a person can’t own a handgun for protection (although statistically that gun is far more likely to cause harm than prevent it).  As much as 40% of all gun sales currently involve private sellers and do not require background checks, and 40% of surveyed prison inmates who used guns in their crimes said they obtained them this way.  Background checks, waiting periods, assault weapons bans…these are all reasonable, appropriate measures to take in order to limit the access of mass murder weapons to those who wish to do harm.

The time to talk about such measures is absolutely when something like this has happened.  The stakes are simply too high to postpone such discussions.  And with the regularity of mass shootings, waiting just isn’t feasible.  In any other scenario we would recognize the need to seek solutions when a serious problem arose; if a flight went down, we would want to figure out how to avoid other air disasters, and if a terrorist attack occurred we would immediately try to identify ways to prevent a reoccurrence.

I’m angry.  I’m terrified.  And I’m tired of feeling this way.  I grew up with guns, and I have a healthy respect for them.  I have no desire to take away anyone’s right to bear arms…despite the fact that our forefathers’ intentions have been warped and manipulated by the NRA.  What I do want is for our country to get its head out of its ass and move toward sensible regulations that (as shown in other countries) could limit the number of grieving family members whose lives were forever impacted by guns.

I want “thoughts and prayers” to be backed up with action.  I want the fear of losing loved ones to outweigh the fear of “losing” a right.  I want common sense and love to win.  I want CHANGE.  And I’m not willing to put a waiting period on saving lives.  I want it now. 




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