Well, I'm exhausted. As someone who has lost a loved one so suddenly and unexpectedly and violently to bullets, it was a tough week-end. I have a network of friends who are in my exclusive club. We've talked. We all felt the same way- shaken and vulnerable all over again. I have immersed myself in the news stories and have been writing and doing a press interview. It would probably be a good thing to forget about it and move on. But no, that can't happen. I don't want the public to forget about this incident because if they forget they will move on and not demand change. Change. What should it be? Will new laws make a difference? They certainly could but will we have the will to enact them? That, too, will be exhausting. Some have said it's just not going to happen. Others think it's a must. Lives actually do depend on what our leaders decide they will do. That remains to be seen but I will do my best to have my voice heard.
I could link to dozens of cogent and articulate articles. I have read most of them and tweeted them and shared them on Facebook. I am exhausting my friends as well. Everywhere I went today, people said they had thought about me on Saturday because they know how passionate I am about the gun issue. People with whom I associate at church, on various boards, in 3 book clubs, in a walking group, at the exercise club, just friends, at the doctor's office, and almost everyplace I go are sane and reasonable people. Some own guns. Most do not. To a person, they all think that having such easy access to guns for a young man so clearly mentally ill and with such strange political thoughts is insane. Why then, is it our national policy to allow this to happen?
Sometimes pictures are worth a thousand words. There were a few cartoons that resonated for me today. This one, "Don't go blaming guns" posted on Salon.com speaks to the real problem with guns and gun laws in the U.S. Another posted in several places is by Cagle Cartoons which you can check on the web. On the left side is a woman with tears in her eyes laying a rose down in front of photos of victims with the words- "What is the answer to gun violence?" On the right side is the woman looking back with at a group of guys with guns raised and holstered, one with an NRA hat on, and the words: "More Guns!" That is the divide in this country over guns.
Several people who wrote things today brought me up short. One was this local view article in my own newspaper. I'm quite sure this was pre-planned to appear today before the Tucson shooting happened. The irony of the article's headline is " Give conservatives a chance." In the article a local man claiming to be a policy analyst, who I have never heard of before, said this about Republicans and their views on guns: " Guns get a bad rap because bad guys occasionally use them to forcibly redistribute wealth. Only the government is allowed to distribute wealth. Guns are a symbol of freedom, and they give meaning to the words, “consent of the governed.”" If someone can tell me what this really means, I'd love to know. I have an eerie feeling that it means something quite scary after Saturday's shooting.
The second thing that brought me up short was this awful article about "Reverend" Fred Phelps intending to picket the funerals of the Tucson shooting victims. Come on. In all decency, how can this happen after all of the talk about civility and stopping the hate talk? But here we have a hate group who actually celebrated the shootings on their web page: " Phelps, in a video on his group's web site, thanks God for the "marvelous work in Tucson, " which he says is part of God's vengeance on America. He says his church prays for "more shooters...more dead." Not only is this inexcusable and scary, it sounds like a terrorist organization. The third incident is the revelation that the Colorado office staff of Democratic Senator Michael Bennett had been threatened by a man who said he would shoot them and set fire to the office. These are real threats. How many more of our leaders will be shot? President Obama cancelled some appearances this week because of the shooting and concerns over security. And the last one ( but not the least) was this double shooting homicide of two people near Duluth which has shaken that small community. This article does not reveal the cause of death but a local T.V. station reported that it was a shooting.
But the day ended with my thoughts turning more inward as I realized that mostly what I had heard and read all day agreed with my views expressed on this blog. Most people believe this incident was not just another horrific mass shooting the likes of which we see regularly in our country. In 2010 alone, there were 68 shootings of 4 or more people killed and/or injured! Most believe this one was different. It came on the heels of a politically heated campaign and some politically heated debates about policy issues in our country. It involved a sitting U.S. Congresswoman and it took the lives of 6 totally innocent people in a matter of seconds. We must believe there will be something different and better that comes from this. What we have now is just not working.
Welcome to Common Gunsense
I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.