“It’s All I Think About During The School Day”

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

A mother and her daughter were walking a dog as I did a lawn project on Thursday. After a general conversation about the perfect weather, I asked the girl how many more days of school she had before every nice day could be enjoyed outside. The Marquette Elementary student shyly smiled and said 6 more days—with her smile growing as she got to the end of the sentence. She let me know she was glad to have summer vacation arrive.

“But not as happy as I am,’’ her mother stated. After I expressed that is not usually the sentiment of parents she added, “after this past week it’s all I think about during the school day.”

Her words did not need to add all the details for the message to be registered.

It was yet another example of the national dialogue that is taking place, yet again, after a painful and preventative mass shooting of children.

But as the country talked across fences, wrote letters to the editor, called their elected officials, and sadly started attending funerals for 19 school children in  Uvalde, Texas we read of more gun deaths.

News reports have alerted us that in just the past 9 days, 17 more people were shot to death, in Michigan, Colorado, California, Arizona, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania.

Thursday it was reported that the mass shooting which occurred in Oklahoma was the result of a gunman able to buy an AR-15 style assault rifle only hours before the weapon was used to kill two doctors and two others. That shooting was the 20th mass shooting since the 19 school children were murdered in Texas.

I do not need to write the obvious when saying the nation has taken more than its share of gun deaths and injuries due to the under-regulated sales and ease with which these deadly weapons are able to proliferate among the public.

President Joe Biden took to the national airwaves in a timely and profoundly important address aimed to urge Congress to do its duty to the American people regarding guns. It did not matter which political party anyone calls home, or how one cast a ballot in 2020. In what may have been Biden’s finest effort to connect with a nation often at odds, he presented the American problem with guns.

After Columbine, after Sandy Hook, after Charleston, after Orlando, after Las Vegas, after Parkland, nothing has been done. This time, that can’t be true. This time, we must actually do something. The issue we face is one of conscience and common sense.

According to new data just released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, guns are the No. 1 killer of children in the United States of America. The No. 1 killer. More than car accidents, more than cancer. Over the last two decades, more school-age children have died from guns than on-duty police officers and active-duty military combined.

Think about that. More kids than on-duty cops killed by guns. More kids than soldiers killed by guns. For God’s sake. How much more carnage are we willing to accept? How many more innocent American lives must be taken before we say enough? Enough.

Rational people know there is a need that calls out for concrete action to stop the death and blood-letting which can occur anywhere. The toll it is having on children, as an example, has been computed and compiled. Since 2019, more than 4,500 children have been shot to death in the United States, according to the Gun Violence Archive. That’s about the same number of US military members killed during the 17 years of the Iraq War.

The facts and data scream out for an American response to what is clearly known worldwide as an American problem.

For every one child under the age of 5 shot and killed in other high-income countries, there are 29 US kids under the age of 5 shot and killed. For every one child under the age of 15 shot and killed in other high-income countries, there are 13 US kids under the age of 15 shot and killed.

What more sobering statistics does an elected official need to have before knowing the kids in the nation need congressional allies before the gun lobby needs another sign of deference and servility?

Though I am an optimist about life in general and have always been attracted to political messages that lift up hope and speak to, as President Lincoln said, “the better angels of our nature” I have not felt this Congress can deliver a gun-control package. The reason being, as Biden said during his televised address, a partisan desire to do nothing.

The fact that the majority of the Senate Republicans don’t want any of these proposals even to be debated or come up for a vote, I find unconscionable.

The American public is watching Congress, and as we all know from our personal conversations, the revulsion about these shootings has reached an all-time high. Just how long do those wedded to the NRA think they can defy the demands of a nation?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s