The United States witnessed yet another act of inconceivable violence last weekend with the murder of forty-nine people in Orlando. We can debate why this happened,
how this person got a gun, what he might have been angry about, whether or not he had been drinking alcohol, if he had received mental health services in the past, if he was struggling with his sexual identity and acted out against it, whether or not he was a terrorist . . . fill-in, fill-in, fill-in . . .
More and more people have died at the hands of guns, and we keep hearing the same story over and over again, about an angry person, who is aggrieved about something, who has access to a weapon, and goes out and kills others.
It is inconceivable to me that a gun, with all of its needed responsibility, can be acquired through gun sale loopholes and without a background check. It does not make sense to me that assault weapons are so easily acquired by anyone.
Now is time to stop thinking and to start acting. Shrugging one’s shoulders and feeling helpless is pointless. Wondering why nothing has changed does nothing for forward movement. Anger plus access, has been a deadly combination in this country.
What I keep encountering as I read the news stories about gun control, is that most people in the United States want gun reform. They are not asking that guns be taken away from hunters and people who want them for protection. But they are asking why individuals need a weapon of war. And how people can acquire guns with no accountability.
MoveOn.org sent a petition around asking for 200,000 signatures for a ban on assault weapons. So far, they have gotten a half a million signatures. The organization Moms Demand Action keeps working for changes in gun legislation with over 200,000 members.
Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, engaged in a fifteen-hour filibuster on the Senate floor in Washington, saying he would stop the filibuster when Democrats and Republicans could agree on a vote for gun reform. As a result, there will be a scheduled vote on closing gun-access loopholes. Requiring background checks on guns purchased at trade shows and through the internet. Preventing individuals on terrorist watch-lists from legally buying guns.
We cannot let the demand for changes in gun policies end. Again. We need to use our voices to speak out against the violence. We need to sign the petitions. We need to support organizations that are invested in changing gun policies. We need to vote for politicians who support gun reform measures. We need to call our senators and congresspeople. We need to be willing to speak out against policies and politicians that are being staunchly defended by the gun lobby, when innocent people are dying in the process.
Do not let your silence signal your consent. Find your voice. Use it for change.