Something I rarely tell people is that at a summer job during college I witnessed a coworker be shot and murdered with a semi-automatic rifle. I was 20 years old and was only about 20 feet away when I witnessed the whole gruesome ordeal. I won’t get into the specifics except to say that it forever affected my feelings towards guns.
I will also note that I grew up with guns in our house. My dad is an avid hunter and a gun owner. But my whole life I can remember him saying that gun owners have a responsibility to make guns harder to get by crazy people. That a responsible hunter should want stricter regulations, waiting periods, and bans on weapons meant only for man-killing. My great uncle was a marksman in World War II, a rifle enthusiast, and a life long member of the NRA. He renounced his membership when they started becoming paranoid zealots.
All this to say I have strong history that has led to my belief in sensible gun control that includes a ban on assault weapons and large-ammo clips, bans on concealed weapons of any sort, extensive waiting periods and psych evaluations, and strict limits on the number of guns a person should be allowed to own.
Friday’s events have wrecked me. 20 children are dead and I can’t seem to stop crying. I cried at work. I cried when I got home. I cried before bed. I cried at the gym this morning as I was unable to escape my thoughts and being constantly bombarded by the 24-news cycle blaring on all TVs at the gym. I cried again this afternoon watching the stories of teachers who protected their children as the carnage took place around them.
There is a place for crying. But it is not enough. Action must be taken. Last night I signed up for monthly contributions to the Brady Campaign. I have posted extensively on Facebook and engaged with friends who hold slightly different opinions than mine. But more must be done. An easy first step is for any of you reading this who feel the same as I do to contribute to the Brady Campaign. Another step you can take is to write to or call your Representatives and Senators in Congress and demand that the Federal Assault Weapons Ban that expired in 2004 be brought to an immediate vote and passed. Those are starting points. We must also pass stricter hand gun laws and increase our mental health services infrastructure, to name only a few more.
Please don’t let this fade. Don’t let us find ourselves shedding more tears every other month ad infinitum. Don’t let more children, YOUR children, be the next to die senselessly at the end of a military grade weapon. Take action. Gun Control Now.