I did not lose a child yesterday, but my entire being aches as if the losses had been my own. I did not try to sleep last night with the unfathomable grief of those who lost their children, but agonizing sorrow littered my dreams in nightmarish sequences.
Little kids, two days short of their summer vacation, ready to close their school books and go home to play with their friends. Little kids with lunch pails and bicycles and neighborhood games. Little kids with their whole lives in front of them – future doctors, teachers, maybe even politicians – who no longer fill the world with their bright smiles and spirits.
Why does this keep happening? This merciless slaughter of innocents? In America, the land of the free. I choke on those words. Free to go to school safely? As in 8, 9, or 10 year olds?
Why do we not have the political will to change our policies regarding gun ownership? I’m sick of “guns don’t kill people” campaigns. Tell that to the parents of those dead children. Tell them not to weep, because it wasn’t a gun? It was another human being who had lost their mind. But it wasn’t a knife or a hammer, potentially survivable weapons. It was a gun.
“While mass shootings … represent a relatively small percentage of overall gun crimes, they have risen drastically in recent years, with at least eight of the 20 deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history taking place since 2014.
That a majority of these criminals have made their gateway purchases though legal means reflects the profound inadequacy of local, state and federal statutes to detect or deter mass shooters, say law enforcement officials, researchers and the families of people they killed.
‘The reality in this country right now, is that anyone who wants to cause harm to themselves, or do someone else harm, can easily acquire the means to do so — legally,’ said Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter, Jaime, was killed in the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., in 2018.”
In these mass shootings, it’s not just any gun, but the favorite of those insane enough to hunt down human beings: an AR-15, described in a web search as a weapon used for visceral reasons, involving flesh and blood.
AR-15s inflict much more damage to human tissue … because of the speed at which projectiles leave the weapons; they are much faster out of the muzzle … and deliver a more devastating blow to bones and organs. Those projectiles … break apart as they pass through the body, inflicting more damage.”
Broken hearted, devastated, I see no end in sight. Where next? Whom? It could be me in the mall or grocery store shopping for my family. Could be you, outdoors at a musical concert, an evening celebration with friends. Could be YOUR children, supposedly safe at school, learning skills to make them contributing citizens. Could be anyone of us, merely walking down the street in an open-carry state.
The manufacturers of these weapons want you to forget. They want no responsibility for the carnage, unlike the weight we put on manufacturers of automobiles or airlines. They want to remain – and assume that they are – blameless. They want you to focus on the murderer, not his choice of assault. It is well past time to put in place a system that keeps this type of weapon out of the hands of angry murderers.
Decades ago, I had a crazy person point a gun in my face. Lucky for me, I was able to talk him down off the ledge, and lived to tell you now, that the memory never dissipates. For those kids who witnessed their friends death, the image will never leave them. They deserve better. We deserve better. Tell your representatives, enough is enough. Have the spine to stand up to the NRA.
Beautiful and painful and true. Thank you for speaking the pain we file and confronting the truth our elected leaders won’t.