I haven’t run out of tears. If anything, tears flow more quickly at each new shooting and become more and more difficult to curb. But I find something new growing in me, something that wasn’t there before, something hot and fierce that wants to choke me. That feeling is anger. Anger at the perpetrators of mass murders for attaching no value to human life and to the ties that bind us, and anger at those for whom unfettered access to military-style weaponry is a more important right than the right to live.
When Noah was killed, thousands of you reached out to us and we were grateful for your compassion. We still are. The circles of love that cradled us during these terrible early days have not disappeared. They are still palpable and still a comfort. But today we need more. We need the assurance that our grandson wasn’t just a statistic and that his death won’t be brushed under the rug with a “Stuff happens” shrug. Innocent lives are taken every day: 14 in San Bernardino, 3 in Colorado Springs, 10 in Oregon… You remember the headlines, I don’t need to go down the list. There have been 351 mass shootings since January 1st, more than days in the year.
Yet nothing has changed. Congress has blocked every single effort to regulate gun ownership. Why? In the words of one of our presidential candidates, “I never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away.”
Well, Dr. Carson, maybe you have never seen your grandchild in his coffin. I have.
I have seen a mischievous, sweet little boy, a boy I loved, in his eternal sleep. He was peaceful and so much like himself that it was hard to believe he wouldn’t spring up, dance his crazy ginga dance and fall to the floor laughing or go raid the cookie cupboard as he was wont to do. Saying goodbye to that perfect little face was the hardest thing we ever did.
Imagine Noah were your grandson. Put your murdered grandchild in the balance with the assault rifle that killed him on the other side and let me know which weighs the heaviest. If you pick the weapon, then you cannot be trusted with a child, let alone with all our lives and you -and other like-minded candidates- have no business wanting to be our president.
But, Dr. Carson, you are just a footnote, soon to be forgotten. The ones who matter are the rest of us.
We need to look out for each other and, at the very least, to do all we can so that our kids survive to adulthood.
I for one refuse to use the hashtags that pop up everyday and everywhere. Keep your thoughts and prayers for the survivors (they do need them) but on social media and everywhere else, skip the posturing, whip up the indignation, put out a call to action.
If you truly care, if you are not just paying lip-service to the awfulness of the moment, if you want our country to change, here is what you can do:
- Join a grass-root effort: Everytown for Gun Safety is a good place to start;
- Champion gun safety among your friends and relatives (and if you do own guns, please start at home);
- Call your congressmen and let them know what you expect from them;
- Vote with both your conscience and your heart in the next election.
Together we will make a difference.
- Gun Deaths: Rare Elsewhere, Common in U.S., by Kevin Quealy and Margot Sanger-Katz
- The Simple Truth About Gun Control , by Adam Gopnik
- On Guns We Are Not Even Trying, by Nicolas Kristoff
- Dear America: Here is your Gun Solution, by Sara Benincasa
- Despair About Gun Deaths Is Not an Option, NYT Editorial (added to list on 12/13/15)