They were just dancing. Or starting their day with their classmates and teachers. Or celebrating the holidays with colleagues. Or watching a movie. They were doing the things that we take for granted in our democratic society.
And in an instant, they were gone.
When are we going to demand an end to mass murder? When are we going to hold our leaders and would-be leaders accountable for the steady drumbeat of senseless killings that take beautiful, young lives and destroy families? I think thoughts and prayers are important. Pray if you pray. Send loving energy into the world. Set an example for others.
But if gun violence is going end, we must do more.
I’m putting it out there. Here’s my list of common sense steps to help put an end to these brutal killings:
- Stand up to the hateful, alienating rhetoric of some of our leaders and would-be leaders. It creates a tug-of-war of intolerance. Nobody wins and innocents get caught in the middle.
- Mental illness is universal. Show me a family who hasn’t been touched by it. The stigma attached to it must go. Acceptance will lead to more people getting the help they need for themselves, and more family members offering loving support when they do so. Let’s talk openly about mental illness.
- People who are on a terrorist watch list shouldn’t be able to purchase weapons. It’s just insane that they can.
- Nobody needs a gun capable of killing dozens of people in minutes to defend their home and property.
- The hunters I know are responsible gun owners. Imagine if hunters started wildly spraying bullets in the forest using assault-style rifles. Exactly.
Whether you agree with me or not, the conversation about gun violence must continue long after the last memorial bouquets crumble to dust in Orlando. The victims of mass murder and their loved ones deserve this. The shell-shocked survivors deserve this. And our country needs it. Wake up, America. Don’t let yourself become inured to images of young people fleeing in horror, to dozens of funerals happening within in a week in one community. We are better than that.
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