Yesterday approximately 200,000 people marched in Washington DC to protest gun violence. There were many other local marches around the US at the same time. Have we finally reached the tipping point? Have enough innocent people finally been murdered where enough people have finally decided to speak up?
I gave up hope years ago, believing that if 20+ little children dying in one shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary then nothing would make people change their minds. Maybe enough people are finally fed up with wondering if they and their children are going to make it home that day that people are doing something about it.
Our children shouldn’t have to do active shooter drills. They should be getting an education and preparing for the world outside, not learning how to survive one of their classmates or a complete stranger coming to their school and murdering them. We are stealing their childhood by forcing them to face their own mortality at such a precious age. And we have gotten so ridiculous about it that a school in Pennsylvania is putting buckets of rocks in classrooms.
And don’t think that arming teachers is a brilliant idea. We already denigrate the teaching profession, underpay teachers, harry and harass them, starve them of supplies, and try to interfere in their profession. We have turned teaching away from motivating students to seek education to a repetitive task of training for the next test. And most teachers are against being armed, as are the police. If trained police officers are having enough of a challenge dealing with an armed intruder, we should not expect a lone teacher to face an armed gunman.
Even outside of school it is so bad that when I go out into public gatherings I check for escape routes and cover. This way I have a plan to get my family out safely in the event of an active shooter situation. At the DragonCon parade, Annelies and I specifically picked a spot that had a good view and a waist high stone wall so we could be safe just in case. While shootings in public places are rare they do happen. It is absurd that we should live in a world where we have to plan for someone trying to kill us while out in public.
You can say that the media plays up the events to increase their ratings but anyway around, these are easily preventable tragedies. By following what Australia did and require thorough licensing and strict penalties for violations we can cut down or eliminate these types of events. It may take some time to see the effects but it will make daily life safer for everyone.
Now that the momentum has started we must keep pushing in the face of resistance from the NRA lobby and their ilk. They are already mounting a fierce resistance to having guns curtailed but we must persist. Their last line of defense is that we need guns to protect us from a tyrannical government. But really, what good will that AR-15 do against a tank or a drone? The ability to resist our own military with semiautomatic weapons is nothing more than a pipe dream. No civilian population can stand up to the technological might of any country’s own military. Believing otherwise is foolhardy at best. The problem is that this is the narrative that the NRA sells. They feed the fear that armed criminals are around every corner, that jackbooted government thugs are waiting in the wings to attack us as soon as we let our guard down.
We must overcome the money the NRA pours into our government in the name of lobbying. We must remind our officials they serve us and not the gun lobby. We must take the momentum we have now and move it from the streets to the voting booths. Let your Congressmen and Senators know how you feel. Flood them with letters and calls saying you want something done. If they instead give into the siren song of NRA blood money we must vote them out.