I am a grandmother, and my heart is breaking for the families in Uvalde, TX. I am a grandmother, and I cannot imagine how my children and grandchildren are processing another school shooting. I cannot imagine parents worrying about sending their children to school. School is supposed to be a safe place for children. And the children, they are still adjusting to being back in school after being afraid of the Coronvirus. Now, how many children have increased trauma because of the fear of gun violence?
When we grew up, the most safety training we got in school was how to line up for a fire drill and where our rendezvous point was in case we got separated from our class. Now, students and teachers go through active shooter drills.
Before I moved to SC, I was living the Northern Virginia area. I lived there when the Beltway sniper was randomly shooting people in parking lots and at gas stations. I remember being scared whenever I had to fill up my car. I would try to put myself between the car door and anyone who might be shooting from in front of me. I remember being scared walking through a parking lot and looking around and trying to get inside as quickly as possible. That was back in 2002. It ended. The sniper was caught.
Today our children and grandchildren have no sense of an ending where they can resume feeling safe. Everyday they face the risk of being someplace where there might be an active shooter, most likely with a semi-automatic weapon.
We, as the adults in their lives, do our best to help them feel some sense of safety and security. But the question is;
“How do we stop gun violence?
NBC News reported that 2200 children died from gun-related deaths in 2020.
The number of active shooter incidents — which the FBI describes as events in which someone is engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area — has reached new highs in the last decade. There were 61 active shooter incidents last year, according to FBI data, which topped the previous year’s record of 40 incidents.
Are we becoming immune to this word? Violence is reported to us every night on the news. Images of death, both from Ukraine and local violence appear in our social media feeds. Local news tells us about someone being KILLED at least weekly, if not more. But the word is used so often are we becoming immune?
How do we stop this gun violence?
Children need to feel safe at school. The pandemic has already stressed their feelings of security. Parents need to feel safe sending their children to school.
I am not anti-gun. My late husband was a hunter. He did not need a semi-automatic rifle to shoot animals. I personally did not understand hunting, but he grew up hunting and he loved the sport of it and being in nature. He studied the sport, practiced, and donated what he shot to Hunters for the Hungry.
What I don’t understand is how anyone can be opposed to background checks before purchasing a gun? How can anyone be opposed to a waiting period, a cooling off period, before purchasing a gun? I know the arguments, if we make it more difficult to buy a gun legally, only criminals will have guns.
Most of the legal gun owners are not murderers. Why do many of them so adamantly defend their right to own all types of guns, without any background checks or safety training or cooling off period? These guns they defend may end up one day taking the life of their loved one.
A little history
Did you know that the NRA was started in 1871 to improve the marksmanship of men so that in case of another war, our militia would be prepared? It also promoted the British sport of elite shooting.
Heather Cox Richardson, a political historian, wrote in her newsletter yesterday that “In 1931, amid fears of bootlegger gangs, the NRA backed federal legislation to limit concealed weapons; prevent possession by criminals, the mentally ill and children; to require all dealers to be licensed; and to require background checks before delivery. It backed the 1934 National Firearms Act, and parts of the 1968 Gun Control Act, designed to stop what seemed to be America’s hurtle toward violence in that turbulent decade.
It wasn’t until the mid-70’s that their focus shifted away from sport and riflery to opposing “gun control.” You can read her full article here and subscribe to her Letters from an American.
How can we stop the senseless violence? Diane Wolke-Rogers, a history teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, gave a TED talk, about 2 months after the shooting at the high school. It is emotional as well as a history lesson on the 2nd amendment and the beginning of the NRA. Well worth listening to.
So, what can we do? Get involved. Call your congressmen. Vote. Please don’t tell me my vote doesn’t count. Maybe I won’t be able to vote out Lindsay Graham. But the more of us who vote, the more our voices will be heard, and one day, one day, we will evolve into more compassionate human beings.
We are the elders, the grandparents, the generation of “make love, not war.” We are the role models for our children and grandchildren. Show up for them. Get engaged for them. Let’s leave behind a legacy we can be proud of.