I want two things to be clear. First, I waited three days to write this so that some of the shock and anger I am feeling could at least be focused. Second, I grew up in a family where my sister and father were hunters. I later married into a family where everyone hunts. This is not a blog about why every gun should be removed. There are guns that are appropriate for hunting. Assault rifles are not. Especially assault rifles in the hands of teens, in the hands of people who would do evil, in the hands of an unbalanced individual. Assault rifles should be restricted to trained law enforcement, the military, and other protective service individuals.
Three days ago the unthinkable happened again. This time it was in an elementary school. Nineteen children, innocent children with families that loved them, with the potential for bright futures in front of them, who were dropped off at school never to come home again. We can focus on the action of one seriously unbalanced individual or we can look at the ease with which he obtained his weapon of choice along with an inexcusable amount of ammunition. We can also focus on the gun, without which we wouldn’t be having this dialogue. We would be blissfully ignoring the warning signs once again, all the while believing that the thoughts and prayers of our politicians would be the solution to our pandemic of gun violence.
I am not naïve. I know that criminals will find the guns. I know that criminals will break the laws. That is what makes them criminals. But does that justify us doing nothing? Does that allow politicians to trot out the second amendment every time some responsible law maker tries to pass meaningful, responsible legislation to at least make it harder to get the guns? If we are hiding behind the second amendment, let’s consider what the founding fathers were really trying to define. Is a teen with an assault rifle a standing militia? I am tired of the politicians who immediately claim that gun legislation implies that we are taking all the guns or that we are going after the responsible gun owner who legally owns and uses a gun for sport of hunting. We the people are simply asking that we make sure that a gun owner goes through the proper background check, that they are asked to wait a couple of days to get that legally obtained gun, that assault rifles, high capacity ammunition magazines, that bump stocks and ghost guns are banned from ownership by the general public. Why is that so difficult? Why is that so threatening?
When is enough enough? I cannot accept that the solution to school shootings is to arm teachers, turn schools into armed bunkers, to train students how to fend off a shooter or to have children practice shooter drills in their schools. Aren’t we admitting that it is easier to lay the responsibility on the victim than to limit the ability of the shooter to make them victims. Thoughts and prayers are a nice gesture, but if not followed up with action, they are at best an act of empathy but at worst a cover for the cowardice by those that can to do something, but choose to do nothing.
A responsible congress would have, should have, already come together at the very least to talk about what could be done or at best, would already be voting on legislation to start the solution moving forward. But of course that hasn’t happened. We are told that to ask for legislation is politicizing the situation. That our second amendment rights are being taken away. That we don’t understand the problem. This is what I understand, you were elected to pass laws that would keep us safe, that you were elected to tackle the problems even if you think they are complicated, that you were elected to serve, not to spend your time trying to figure out how to keep yourself in office. If you want to stay in office, then serve, and if the solution takes compromise, then sit down together and talk. Stop playing the party line, stop serving the NRA and start serving the people who elected you.
I will end this with a challenge. I have already donated to an organization that will fight for responsible gun legislation, education, and support for the survivors and families of loved ones lost to gun violence. That is only a start. I will also vote and I will cast that vote for politicians who can answer this simple question correctly, “Will you vote for responsible gun legislation?” Yes or no. No double speak, no skirting the issue. Just yes or no.
Will you join me? Actions do speak louder than words. We need to act and we need to ask others to take action as well, especially our elected leaders who we entrusted with the power to do something about it. After all, enough is enough!