(Photo by Mark RALSTON / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

What Can We Do About Senseless Gun Violence?

It starts with each of us

Like you, I was again profoundly saddened this past weekend with news of another mass shooting. And then a second one happened. And I was left bewildered. How much longer will we put up with this? And I say we, because it’s on all of us to rise up, now, and demand that something change.

I’m not hear to preach or to come down firmly on a side. I have my personal opinion but it’s irrelevant here.  Here’s what I will say, though: no matter where you stand on the issue of guns themselves: ban them entirely, regulate them better, it’s a mental health issue, not a gun problem…no matter where you stand…you must act. We all must. Now. Because, end of the day, one thing we do have in common is we all want this insanity to end–and not just mass shootings. In Chicago over the weekend 48 people were shot in separate incidences. 5 died.  Our region is still reeling from the recent shooting deaths of two fine police officers. If shootings were a virus, we’d be demanding a vaccine. 

So.

Write your congressional representative. Write your senator. Make your voice heard. Demand they do something…anything. If you feel it should be tighter gun regulations, write them and say so. If you feel it’s a mental health issue, demand they fund the programs and services necessary. Demand they act. Because staying put is not working and what we can’t do is continue to stand idly by and assume nothing can be done, that it’s out of our hands. We cannot go through our lives merely hoping we won’t be next, or a friend or family member won’t be next. That isn’t freedom. It isn’t freedom to be afraid to go to a concert, or a mall, or a nightclub or a church or a school. Something has to change, and it’s got to start with us. 

While we’re at it, let’s contact our local TV stations and newspaper. Demand they stop showing the photos of these mass-shooting monsters. Provide the basic information and nothing more. They should not be given a single moment’s chance to become a martyr to some other twisted soul. Confine them to the anonymous trash heap of history. 

All that said, I will also say this: there is a deep anger and hatred in this country isn’t confined to a few mass-shooting wackos; on Saturday, my 26 year old daughter accidentally cut a guy off in traffic, he followed her angrily for miles until she was able to ditch him. She was terrified. 

I don’t know how to affect change with that deeper disconnect. I don’t know where it comes from and I don’t know how you tamp it down. But I do know that we can continue to counter it and overwhelm it by continuing to be the good…by showing empathy, respect and forgiveness..by living life with love, kindness and a sense of humor. Maybe that sounds naïve. In fact, I know it does. But what else do we have? I am bone-weary of this cycle, of one side blaming the other, of absolutely nothing ever getting done. Bone-weary. I’m sure you are too.

Let’s all of us pledge to do two things this week: write your representative, and demand action. And then, find something or someone you can bring a positive change to. Nothing is too big or too small. Most of us—we get it. We’re in this together. Until our “leaders” figure that out, let’s at least be there for one another, no matter what. Let’s all Be The Good, because for now, we’re all we have.

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