This morning while I sit and sip my morning coffee and scroll through Facebook photos of my friends, other mothers across the United States face a much different reality.
Instead of packing a lunch and seeing her little one off on the school bus, a Sandy Hook mother is living with the hollow sound of nothingness in the home where her kindergartner used to play. Instead of planning ahead for her teenage son’s high school graduation, a mother living in a tough neighborhood in Chicago has only his photos and old clothes to remind her of his promise. Rather than worry about her college age child’s big upcoming calculus exam, a mother is experiencing the horror of identifying a body in an Oregon morgue.
Right now I don’t much care about your right to bear arms. What about my right to send my children to school without fearing they will be killed in a mass shooting? What about a struggling family’s right to raise their children as best they can without worrying that gang violence will cut those children down as they walk to the corner store or the park? What about our right to go enjoy a movie in a darkened theater where the only horror is on the screen?
I’m tired of the old saw, “Guns don’t kill. People do.” If you are fond of saying that, you are wrong. Guns do kill. That’s what they are made for. Many, if not most, of the violent deaths that occur in this country would not have occurred if the perpetrator had not had a gun. A gun is a coward’s way to hurt someone. It’s a way too easy way. It has got to stop.
People talk a lot about common sense gun laws – background checks, monitoring of gun shows and internet sales etc. To me, the only common sense gun laws would be to prohibit them completely. Okay, you hunters can have your non-automatic rifles. I’ll accede to your strange need to go kill defenseless animals.
People will say that if you make owning guns a crime, only criminals will have guns. But research has shown that the harder we make it to get a gun, the less likely criminals will use them to kill people. People say they need their guns for self defense. Yet the accidental shooting deaths of innocent people far outstrip any potential benefit from having a gun in our homes or on our person.
While the shooter was gunning down innocent people at Umpqua Community College yesterday, University of Texas students were protesting campus carry laws at a rally called Gun Free for UT. Like the state of Texas, Oregon allows concealed carry on college campuses. Who does not see the insanity in these laws? The more shooting deaths we see, the more the pro-gun lobby pushes for fewer and fewer restrictions on firearms possession and carry.
Meanwhile, mothers across the country will never overcome the senseless killing of their beloved children. Guns do kill. And we need to get rid of them.