I normally do not post certain types of things on my blog or on social media, like political messages, but today I feel compelled. I’ve been thinking for the last few days about the most recent school shooting in Parkland, and my overwhelming emotion right after grief is rage. I am so angry it makes me cry and for those of you out there who know me, angry-cry is the end-stage, top-of-the-gauge level of angry for me.
I am angry that as a nation, we continue to wring our hands and bemoan each mass shooting but we don’t take any action to stop the next one.
I am angry that our elected officials have failed us in the most spectacular way possible by being unable to work together or to set aside special interests to protect the lives and safety of Americans, including our most vulnerable citizens, our children.
I am angry that time and time again, we the people and our elected officials weigh the value of human lives against countless other things (Second Amendment, special interests, party disagreements, inertia, whatever) and the value of human life comes up short in the calculations.
I am angry at myself for believing at any point in the last several years that I could trust lawmakers to address this epidemic and I am angry at myself for feeling so helpless that I have not personally taken action. This stops now.
I am angry that in 2012, 20 6-7 year old children and 6 adults were murdered in Sandy Hook and in the 5+ years since, we have done nothing meaningful to stop this. To me, this is tantamount to saying that we as a nation are OK with this.
I don’t think we are, but that’s the message we’re sending if we don’t force our government to do something. According to the New York Times, there have been 239 school shootings nationwide since Sandy Hook with 438 people shot, 138 who died.
I am angry that in October of 2017, we had the deadliest mass shooting in our history in Las Vegas. In the span of 15 minutes, 58 people were killed and 851 injured. Yet again, we have done nothing to stop the next attack.
I am not OK with this, are you?
What is it going to take for us to rise up as a nation and say ENOUGH? How bad will we allow this to get before we put our foot down collectively and say to ourselves and our lawmakers that THIS MUST STOP?
For me, the latest school shooting in Parkland was the final straw. I don’t know anyone involved in this event personally but as with all other attacks, this could just have easily been me, my children, my husband, my friends. None of us are safe from this scourge. And I have had enough.
If like me, you putting your foot down and shouting “ENOUGH!”, please take action and write, email, or call your elected officials at the state and federal level and tell them they MUST do something to prevent more mass shootings, especially at schools.
Schools now have lockdown drills and active shooter drills and we as a nation are saying that’s OK. We also seem to be saying it’s OK to put the burden of protecting children on the schools themselves, where a locked door, a desk, or a closed cabinet is the only defense between our children and an angry or disturbed gunman (or gunmen) wielding automatic or semi-automatic weapons.
But it’s not just schools that are targets. And as soon as we make schools into fortresses, an attacker will just pick an easier target, like a shopping mall. Or place of work. Or a club. Or a movie theater. Or an outdoor concert. And the list goes on and on. It’s already happening, folks.
There are no simple answers to explain why we have allowed mass shootings to continue year after year and no simple answers to making them stop but I know that if we do nothing, they will continue.
Whatever your personal thoughts are on gun control, mental health issues, and all of the other factors related to gun violence in the US (and specifically mass shootings) doesn’t matter to me and I have no interest in debating the issue on my blog.
What matters is that our government is failing in one of its most important duties – to protect the lives and safety of Americans – and we the people need to hold them accountable and push them to take action.
Back in 2015, President Obama said this in response to yet another mass shooting:
“We spend over a trillion dollars, and pass countless laws, and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil, and rightfully so. And yet, we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths. How can that be?”
Yet, we have still done nothing to address the issue of domestic gun violence and mass shootings.
If you want to see what the numbers look like, here they are as of 2014 (CNN):
Don’t like that source? Here’s another graphic from Forbes from 2015:
If that’s not enough, here’s a quote from an NBC article in 2015:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 153,144 people were killed by homicide in which firearms were used between 2001 and 2013, the last year that data are available (that number excludes deaths by “legal intervention”).
- The Global Terrorism Database — which uses a criteria to determine terrorist attacks but also includes acts of violence that are more ambiguous in goal — estimates that 3,046 people in the U.S. died in terrorist or possible terrorist attacks between 2001 and 2014.
The top number doesn’t even include suicides and legal police killings (which boost the number to 394,912). Still, just counting homicides alone, 11,780 Americans were killed by guns a year on average, in that time period, while 219 on average were per year killed by terrorism — although of course the 9/11 attacks are the bulk of the deaths.
Examine our reaction as a nation in the aftermath of 9/11, where almost 3,000 Americans were brutally murdered. Now examine our reactions to countless mass shootings where exponentially more Americans have been brutally murdered, by other Americans. There is a massive disconnect here, folks. Again, I’m not interested in debating the issues here and I’m not making a political statement on our response to terrorism – I’m pointing out that our reactions and actions are vastly different in the face of terrorism despite the number of dead and injured piling up in mass shootings.
Mass shootings have reached a crisis level. Let’s all work together to make our voices heard. Children should be safe going to school. Parents should not have to worry that their child will not return home after school. People should be able to attend an outdoor concert, go to work, go to a bar or club, go to church or other house of worship, and do the normal things people do without being shot to death or witnessing others being murdered.
You can use any of these links to find out who represents you at the local, state, and federal level:
I urge you to share whatever your thoughts or opinions are on what we need to do to stop this crisis, this epidemic of violence and murder, with your elected representatives. If you’re not sure what to do, that’s OK. It’s enough to tell them that this is not acceptable and that you expect action and change. Thoughts and prayers are nice, but they will not stop the next attacker.
As for me, I’m contacting everyone from my local representatives all the way to the President of the United States with the same message: do something to change this or I will vote for someone else who can, regardless of party.