Like most Americans, I spent the last week horrified, angry ,and in tears at the loss of those innocent souls in Dayton and El Paso. They got up that morning looking forward to a weekend of shopping and fun with friends. Only to have it cut short, and their lives cut down by men who spewed garbage and hatred.
It could have been me.
It could have been you.
It could have been someone you love or know or care about.
Next time it could be any one of us.
This won’t stop with platitudes and “ heartfelt thoughts” that mean nothing to the families destroyed forever by this despicable act.
Tucson knows how this feels. We had our own senseless violence when Gabrielle Gifford and 18 people were gunned down in 2011 and six perished. It permanently touched our hearts and threatened to end our sense of safety and comfort.
We know all too well the scars that remain and the fear that lurks in the backs of all our minds- it could happen again.
Every time I hear of another shooting I check, is it where my daughter lives? Where my brother is driving his truck? A friend is on vacation? Then shamefully breath a sigh of relief when it’s not.
Years ago, my heart stopped beating when my daughter had traveled to London hours before a major site-seeing area was attacked. Then again after learning of another attack at the cathedral, shortly after she’d left for Paris and a tour of Notre Dame . It started beating when I heard her voice only to feel guilty at the others who were not so lucky.
This has become all too common. We’re becoming inured to the pain and suffering each death, each destructive act inflicts. As though it’s just one more thing to accept, survive and move past.
Why? I can’t help but ask why? Who needs a gun that shoots a ridiculous number of bullets a minute? Who needs a weapon so devastating it can leave dozens dead in seconds?
We pursue avenues to protect life before a natural disaster hits. We refuse to accept something so damaging although it can’t be predicted or avoided. Yet we ignore the most destructive force in our society today- guns. The fuel thrown on a fire that encourages and fosters acts so unspeakable we do nothing but wring our hands over, and then in time, move on from.
Except those who lost everything. Except those who’ll live the rest of their lives knowing they’ll never see their loved one again. Knowing that the color of someone’s skin or their religion was all it took to end their life.
We cannot allow one more person to feel such heartache. We cannot allow one more person to suffer such anguish.
This has to stop.
In a country capable of doing anything it puts its mind to-
Refusing to succumb to the hatred and terror outsiders tried to instill on 9-11.
Challenging our best minds to put us on the moon within 10 years.
Creating a government of the people, for the people, and by the people never seen before or since.
A country that has always symbolized freedom, honor, human rights and democracy to the world, while acknowledging our imperfections and need to do better.
A country whose motto as always been- E plurabus unum– out of one many.
There is nothing we can’t accomplish when we join together in a common goal.
What could be more important than providing a safe, healthy environment for our children, loved ones, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and country?
Tomorrow is another day, let’s make sure it’s filled with our voices rising in unison-
No more violence!
A day when platitudes end and replaced with actions that do not stop until the laws are changed and the violence becomes a sad stain on our history .
Instead of another one filled with death and despair.
We have the power to ensure no one ever suffers this way again.