I worry about a lot of things. One thing I don’t worry about? Growing numb to gun violence. Especially when kids are involved.
And when I use the word “kids,” I mean that in the loosest of terms. I’m talking kids, tweens, teens and really, young adults. It rattles me to the core when I hear about yet another mass killing, like the most recent in L.A. Or Sandy Hook. Or Aurora. Or Virginia Tech. Or, as it turns out in Chicagoland, just about every damn weekend.
I don’t get it. I genuinely don’t understand. Yes, there are zealots at both ends of the spectrum. Those that think every gun in America should be melted down and those that think we should all arm ourselves with Uzis and sawed-off shotguns. But take those out of the equation, and aren’t we left with a majority of reasonably-minded people that understand yes, the Second Amendment exists, and no, our society isn’t exactly that which the framers of the Constitution lived in almost 200 years ago?
When asked as part of a monthly blogging exercise to talk about deaths of those not known to us and how it has impacted our lives, I immediately thought of a visit last weekend to Unity Temple in Oak Park. There, in the door window, was the sad but familiar “no guns allowed” sticker. It pains me every time I see that. Why, in a place like a church or a school, would anyone think to bring a gun in the first place? It’s Pollyanna, of course. I know—you would bring a gun to protect yourself from the criminally insane person hell bent on destroying lives by bringing one themselves. But honestly? There’s no protecting against the unimaginable.
I wonder. Would someone in Santa Barbara have stopped Eliot Rodgers sooner had they gotten a shot off? And if we subscribe to that logic, should everyone in Chicago be gifted with a Saturday Night Special on their 13th birthday? Because surely, if everyone was packing heat, no one would ever actually fire a round, right?
It makes me sad. Every time I see an article about another life lost, somewhere in the city, because of a gun. What does it take for enough people to say, “enough?” Myself included. I don’t like to ruffle feathers. I’m friends with people from across the gun spectrum. I don’t want my boss’ right to target shoot infringed upon any more than my right to walk down a city street without fear of an errant bullet. But I’m just so damn tired of reading about another life lost because politicians can’t get real about what should be reasonable gun rights.
I’m not an activist and I’m hardly a leader. But I do have a voice. It’s not much, but I did respond to a call from Everytown.org to send a postcard to legislators with the simple words, “Not One More.” And it’s not just for the kids in Santa Barbara, and Columbine, and Sandy Hook. It’s for the handful more in Chicago we’ll be reading about on Monday morning. It’s for them, too.
I usually write about books. All kinds of books. Want to know what I’m reading? Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.