This is going to be long. This is going to be serious. This is going to have nothing to do with reading or running. And before I go one word further this is not an opening for political debate. Because if you think for one minute that your right to own dangerous firearms trumps others’ right to live free of fear, you are wrong. I will not debate you on this point. There is no reason whatsoever that will move me on this.
I have spent the last few days vacillating between sobbing grief and furious anger over the events in Florida. I have generally held my tongue and not replied to the insensitive jerks who within hours began to politicize this act and beat their chests about second amendment rights and terrorism. I tried to focus on the tragedy and then the outpouring of love in the form of actions that occurred in Florida.
There are a few social media themes that struck me since then. The first was this idea that this is the new norm. Sadly, this is correct. In the 2 days since Orlando, there have been 5 more mass shootings resulting in 1 more death and 22 more injuries. In June alone there have been 20 mass shootings. So, yes, this is the new norm. So much so that it has to reach a critical mass before the national media will even bother to bring it up.
Another theme was how people lamented that if guns laws did not change after Sandy Hook then they never would. After a gunman killed babies! But here is the thing–I think we were complacent after Sandy Hook because it never occurred to us that our lawmakers and gun manufactures would ignore babies; surely they had to act.
But they did not. They proved that their bottom line and the gun lobby are more important than children. They proved that scientific research would not sway them.
While watching yet another talk show host bemoan the loss of life in Orlando, I was struck. It was Stephen Colbert, and he made a powerful point.
Love is a verb. It is action. So in order for love to win we have to do something. And I am not using the royal we. I am not using the amorphous we. I am talking about me and you and everyone who has had enough. I will not stand by and watch more children, more of my brothers and sisters, more human beings for fuck sake die because someone was full of self-loathing and anger and had easy access to guns.
Perhaps it is naïve to think that maybe just maybe some people don’t know what to do, but it could be that is the case.
For me a huge part of this is to no longer assume that my elected officials have any (ANY) soul that can’t be bought and sold. That they have any (ANY) vote that is not easily available to the highest bidder. And that means funding organizations so that the gun control lobby becomes as strong as and more funded than the NRA. We need to stop thinking there are morals and virtue in government and work to ensure that our lobby is richer and can outbid anyone. It is a place to start and here are some places that can do good things with your money.
- The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence – http://www.bradycampaign.org/
- Everytown for Gun Safety – http://everytown.org/?source=etno_HPT1
- Americans for Responsible Solutions – http://americansforresponsiblesolutions.org/
- Coalition To Stop Gun Violence – http://csgv.org/
- Violence Policy Center – http://www.vpc.org/
- The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence – http://smartgunlaws.org/
- Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America – http://momsdemandaction.org/
Money is not it. There are so many other things you can do. But it is the doing that is important. In the minute it takes you to repost the pithy tweet you could look at what one of these organizations asks you to do to help. And then, damn it, just do it.
And just in case you are not paying attention, Obama is not coming for your guns but know this: I am.