“A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they were no more.” Mass killing in Bethlehem, Mathew 2:18
67 for 45. If that was batting average or shooting percentage or my record playing Wordle it would be truly amazing! Unfortunately after the latest gun violence insanity 67 is the number of mass shootings in our gun-crazed country in the first 45 days of 2023. How can we not be outraged or at least motivated to do something by this unbelievable statistic? Because it is just that, another statistic that doesn’t move us because we have become desensitized by the frequency of these stories. These dead and maimed young people have become just another number and not real live human beings leaving parents, grandparents, and siblings to mourn.
Even more tragic is the fact that the numbers of those who are actually killed or wounded by weapons of war are just the tip of the iceberg. Hundreds or thousands are traumatized by living through and surviving these attacks. Young people have seen and felt their friends and classmates bleed out in their arms. One of the survivors last night in East Lansing had been through an active shooting nightmare in high school in Oxford, Michigan, and another almost unbelievably was a student at Sandy Hook elementary on the day the students and teachers there were used for target practice nearly 11 years ago.
And what are our brilliant “leaders” in D.C. doing about this plague? Of course, they are taking partisan pot shots at each other over anything and everything instead of actually addressing the problem. No matter how futile it seems I will write yet another letter to my senators and representative to let them know how I feel about this, and I would urge all who read this to do the same. It may not make a bit of difference, but who knows when it might.
I am especially sad about this recent incident because my father died 5 years ago this week, just two days before 17 students were gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. When I went back to read what I had written about my dad that week I also found several posts about the students at that high school and what they were doing to demand changes in gun safety legislation. They were so articulate and passionate that I wrote hopefully about what they might do to change things that my generation has failed to address. But five years later nothing has changed, except the killings are becoming more frequent; more than 1.5 mass shootings per day is just unacceptable. If we keep up that pace for the rest of 2023 we will have over 1800 mass shootings this year. That’s 152 per month! Are those more statistics that don’t mean anything?
I know there are a majority of us in this country who are in favor of common sense gun regulations like universal background checks and reinstituting the assault weapon ban. We live in a democracy. If a majority of us want something done that should make a difference. But this is a complex problem. Until we fix gerrymandered Congressional districts; until we fix campaign financing laws so special interests like the gun lobby can’t buy senators and representatives things are not going to change. We the people are not going to have our voices heard on Capitol Hill until Citizens United is overturned, and given the makeup of the Supreme Court I know that isn’t likely to happen in my life time, and that really pisses me off. But beneath my anger is a spark of hope that will not be hidden under a bushel.
But I am not going to let my despair stop me from speaking up, and I hope it won’t you either. If my words can inspire my grandchildren to help create the just society we the people deserve then I will have done my job. How about you?