On Speaking Up and Mass Shootings

What I wanted to write about this week: Birthdays and a tasty recipe for Italian Salad.

We’re going to have to circle back to that one.

Because 19 grade schoolers and 2 teachers were killed a couple days ago. In another school shooting. That I am even writing the word “another” is abhorrent.

I hate making waves. I hate confrontation. I won’t be a coward. Plus, I don’t think a single, solitary one of you was happy that little kids were murdered. Not one of you said, “Oh, well.” I’d imagine most of you can (too easily) imagine the horror, grief, and terror of being a parent rushing to the “reunification area,” not knowing if your child is alive or dead.

I know that when you heard the reporters say they could hear the screams of grief from the parking lot, as parents found out their child had been murdered; you felt it too. The tears welling, the stomach churning, the creeping dread.

Me too.

Repeated studies and polls show that 90% of Americans want common-sense gun laws. How is it that 50 senators are holding up what 90% of Americans want? Just yesterday they blocked a bill that already passed Congress, saying that it was “partisan and unnecessary.” They’ll say they are standing up for their constituency. I don’t believe that. Do you? They’re in the pocket of the NRA and are justifying the millions of dollars contributed to their campaigns.

So they’re just doing their job. They are human beings. I bet they truly are “broken hearted” and that they are, indeed, sending utterly useless “thoughts and prayers.” That won’t stop them from doing the work the lobbyists and their big donors have asked them to do, have paid them to do.

You know who could be the hero in this story? The NRA. They’re having their conference later this week. Maybe that body could make a stand FOR something, rather than continuing to fight AGAINST common sense gun laws. Maybe they could advocate for training and licensing folks who own or would like to own guns. They certainly have the politicians in place to make those laws lock into place rapidly. Maybe they could be a force for good.

The number of people killed in mass shootings (more than 4 people killed) in America so far this year is the equivalent of a 747 airliner fully loaded with passengers falling out of the sky every month in the first five months of this year.

I think if that were happening, we’d do something about it, don’t you? I’d imagine a lot of changes would happen really fast if planes were falling from the sky monthly.

If we’d make changes for air travelers, why not for our children? Or shoppers at a grocery store? Or people going to church?

Some ideas on how to make things better:

Cars don’t kill people either. We train people how to use them and regularly check to make sure drivers are up to snuff. Why not have the same criteria for guns? It seems pretty straightforward to me.

Or maybe make ammunition outrageously expensive… unless you can show a certificate from a gun training facility, then ammo is a normal price. Yes, I hear you. There are lots of ways around something like this. I’d also be for putting serial numbers on all bullets too, so they can be traced.

My husband came up with a good one. Use the National Guard. Make part of their required rotations standing guard at the entrances of schools.

This may sound dumb, but bring back longer recess and lunch periods, especially in grade school. I’d rather have mentally and physically healthy children than ones who can pass a standardized test.

Part of me would rather goggle at the Depp/Heard trial, or be sad that Ray Liotta died than address gun violence in America. I don’t want to think about my friends who are teachers putting their lives on the line every day they go to work. I don’t want to imagine the surviving children seeing their teacher’s or their friend’s blood and brains splattered on the floor of their classroom. I don’t want to imagine walking into a child’s bedroom, the one that still smells of them, see the bed with its sheets still rumpled by their little body, the shoes worn only yesterday, tossed sideways by the closet, see the toy on the floor that will never be played with again.

Walking into that room to pick out the clothes their nine-year-old child will be buried in.

No, I do not want to think about those things.

But we have to. We must.

We have to do better than this.

The little girl at the top of the post is Amerie Jo Garza. She was ten. She loved Play Doh and Girl Scouts. She had just received an award for making the A and B honor roll at school on Tuesday. The day she was killed.

Repost and photo from @girlscouts

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1 thought on “On Speaking Up and Mass Shootings”

  1. Belinda Kiener

    Hi Stacey, With a few words omitted from the beginning and end, this would make an excellent op-ed piece for the Johnson City Press. Please consider it. ~~Belinda (Questers)

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