You know the expression..."it's like a broken record." Well, that is how I feel about the gun violence, and in particular the mass shootings, here in the US of A. I concur with what President Obama said yesterday at his news conference after the shooting at the community college in Oregon.
Our President said: these events are becoming like a bad broken record. And, because so many are happening we Americans are getting used to hearing about it on the news. We are getting numb to it. Oh - it happened again. Oh my. Then we go on with our lives.
Well, I vow to anyone reading this that I will not allow myself to stop feeling the pain of each person innocently killed by someone using a gun. Yesterday I thought of the word "calling" because it came up in a fellow blogger's post I read. I immediately thought of how I am a member of our church "Call Committee" to search for our new pastor. But, today, the word is speaking to me on the subject of gun violence. I feel called to fight for those who have been killed senselessly.
Oh - I have been an advocate of tightening gun laws in America, and I have joined my voice with others on the need for a way to turn around this country's mindset on the whole gun industry. The lure of guns, the availability of them, the freedom of carrying concealed weapons just about anywhere and everywhere.
I have been concerned about it at my own church - which has a preschool attached. I was concerned when my daughter was teaching in an urban high school (she is not there anymore). And guess what? Last Sunday I went to a local movie theater, and yes, the thought even went through my mind there. Could it happen here like it has already happened in towns in America?
I know the NRA is strong and that they influence politicians with unbelievable amounts of money and power. (Lobbyists... a topic for another post!) But I think that we can be stronger at the polls, and we can be louder than we are now, and we can make a difference. We can not shrug our shoulders and give up. It's too important. Each life killed is too important.
I know, I know. It's not guns killing people - it's people killing people. It's the whole mental health issue. That's what many like to spout. Well, my answer is this. We will NEVER find, treat, and handle every single person who has some mental health issues... some get them severely, some not as much, some are born with mental issues, some get them in this world we live in. We need to do our best to support mental health research, and to help those we do identify. Absolutely!! But, it will never be the way to end the gun violence. People fall through the cracks, money continues to be an issue for help, the stigma of mental health keeps people hidden.
When the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School happened and innocent, young children were shot and killed, I thought how appalling that this happened and that the shooter had guns in his own home. It made his sick mission so easy. How can we ever let that happen again? But it did... and it did... and it did. I am a FB "friend" with a site that honors the life of one of the little boys lost on that day. His family keeps him "alive" on the page showing old pictures of him, and telling those who read it what a wonderful son, grandson, and brother he was. It hurts me to see. The kid had freckles, and a gap between his teeth, and the prettiest curls in his hair. He had his whole life ahead of him. His parents and family & friends will forever be missing him.
We are not doing enough to stop another child dying this way.
Those who say it's our right and freedom to carry a gun in America - you know, it's in the Constitution. Well, I say when it was put in there 200 years ago it was never ever intended to allow all of us to own and carry the way we do now. You are twisting the meaning. You are selfish - and defiant for the sake of "being right."
The need for self defense? How about teaching love - and peace early on? How about using that NRA money for early childhood programs that will teach values, morals, and self-control? We could take ALL that the NRA spends and make an impact - and take away some fear. Take away greed. Take away the need some feel to protect themselves. It won't happen quickly. We got to this horrible situation in America over time, so it will take time. But it can be changed. It can be improved. We need to start now. Today!!
We can NOT shake our heads and throw up our hands. My daughters are too important to me - and so are your kids. Grandkids. Our way of life in America is threatened by this gun environment. We have gotten to the point where "guns rule" and it's not a game - and it's not who we should be.
Again, I vow to speak out - and I vow to VOTE only for those running who promise to improve gun safety in America. How about you?