Three years ago I wrote this post in an attempt to purge my uncomfortable, not quite hopeless, feelings following the Sandy Hook murders. It helped. A little.
Since then, I’ve met several of the families who lost children in Newtown that day. I’ve met far too many families who have lost loved ones and co-workers and neighbors and icons to gun violence since then. Sometimes it’s suicide. Sometimes it’s negligence. Sometimes it’s homicide. Sometimes it’s an imagined sense of vigilante power. But the results are always terrible, painful, and long-lasting. Longer lasting than the spree of attention and sympathy and spotlights ever are.
There is no correct way to respond to tragedy; we do what we must to survive. Some of those touched by horrific acts involving firearms choose to get on with their lives, as best they can. Others choose to immerse themselves in faith, support systems, and family. Still others feel a need to act and advocate with the goal of keeping others from suffering as they have.
As I put forth three years ago, and as many people have said every time a new incident of gun violence pulls them into action, Honor Those Lost With Action. Don’t let your good intentions of preventing further tragedies fade away with the time-dulled feelings of frustration and fury.
Don’t know how to get started? Choose a few actions from this list. Do a quick search for GUN on this blog for ideas. Write a letter to the editor, to your Congressional Representative, to your Senators. Pay attention to the news and discussions instead of tuning out issues that you think don’t directly affect you. It’s hard. And it’s painful. So make sure to take a break once in a while too.
Mostly, as you continue on, know that you are not helpless to accept the “New Normal” promoted by those hawking a firearm in every hand. We can push back with reason and common sense. We can. We must.