For days I’ve been wondering what I could say, or even if I should say, anything about the recent tragedy that took place in a small school in Connecticut. Many of my friends were speaking out on this atrocity almost immediately after it happened, offering their condolences and speaking out against the issue of gun violence and the need for tighter gun control measures. I was sure to be there to add my voice to theirs however I could.
When something terrible happens, its only natural to want to speak out. But when its a symptom of a larger problem, people need to speak out. It’s not enough that a “conspiracy of silence” can allow these things to continue unabated, but the prevalence of people out there who will try to exploit it for their own ends also makes it that much more necessary.
But until now, I’ve remained silent as far as my own site was concerned. Somehow, writing about didn’t seem appropriate. The words just wouldn’t come. But as the days went on, a number of things began to urge me to do something. As if the shooting in Newton CT wasn’t enough, another shooting take place at a mall in Clackamas Oregon, killing two people and wounding a third before taking his own life.
My sister, I should note, lives in Oregon and I immediately wrote to her to make sure she was okay. After confirming that she was nowhere near the incident and none of her friends were either, I breathed a slight sight of relief, but it didn’t last. Somehow, with all the violence taking place in 2012 alone, I began to wonder when the hell people were going to decide they’d had enough!
So let me be frank. The United States suffered through one of the worst mass shootings in its history on Dec. 14th 2012. Not only did the senseless act of violence lead to the deaths of 28 people, most of them children, this event occurs amidst a backdrop of violent crime which is spiraling out of control. To illustrate this trend, consider some of the following facts:
- 16 mass shootings have taken place in 2012 already, resulting in the deaths of least 88 people dead and untold numbers wounded and psychologically scarred for life.
- In the vast majority of shooting sprees that took place between 1982 to 2012, the killers obtained their guns legally.
- An average of 10,000 people die ever year from gun-related violence in the US.
- From 1976 to 2004, the number of homicides in the US committed using handguns outnumbers all other forms of homicide combined
- Of the 142 mass shootings to take place in the last 30 years, 103 involved a semi-automatic handgun or an assault weapon
However, despite the obviousness of this problem and the availability of information that makes it abundantly clear that access to guns is a major problem, any and all attempts to push forward with gun control measures have been hampered. It’s gotten to the point where liberals and advocates have thrown up their hands and have all but admitted defeat, citing lobbyists, special interests and partisan obstruction for the failure to get even basic legislation passed.
But, as it happens, this may be the one good thing to come from this tragedy. After going to Avaaz.com and starting a petition to ban hang guns and assault weapons, I noticed from a friend of mine the White House already had such a petition going. As it turns out, it is the largest petition they’ve had to date, breaking all records for most number of signatures. Apparently, American citizens are demanding, in record numbers, that the Obama administration do something about gun violence in America.
At times like this, it feels weird to look for a silver lining, best to just acknowledge the tragic circumstances and offer condolences. But considering that the issue might finally come to a head and future tragedies like this and other such shootings could be prevented… well, that gives me hope! And it makes me want to ditch my previous efforts to hold my tongue and speak from the heart, let everybody know where I stand and hope they will join me in this!
I know I speak for more than just myself when I offer my condolences to all the families in Newton, Connecticut who lost someone they hold dear. I can only hope that their deaths weren’t in vain, and that the tragedy has finally sent the message home that something needs to be done and there are rights more important and sacrosanct than the 2nd Amendment. And to all the victims of gun violence, rest in peace and know that you are not forgotten! This fight will not be over until we get the last of the guns out of the hands of psychos and the madness of the gun culture is finally reigned in!
Here’s a link to the Whitehouse Petition for those who are interested: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition
And if you feel like signing two, here’s the Avaaz one I started: http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition