Updated: Gun Violence in America – Take Action

March And Vigil Remember Chicago Student Beaten To Death Near Community Ctr

I’ve been sitting glued to my TV and tweeting for two hours as I’ve watched the unfolding tragedy of the Newtown, CT shooting. I had to come write and expel some of the horror and outrage that is sitting in my gut. I keep telling myself that it will do no good to cry, yet the tears leak out anyway as my soul will not be quiet.

As necessary as those tears are, they will not bring back the lives of the 18 children and 9 adults, so far reported, who died needlessly today. The wrongness and evilness of human actions sits on my chest like a weight.

Imagine the families who’ve lost children going home to their empty houses tonight, greeted by a void of silence where there children’s voice should be, or standing in the doorway of their empty children’s rooms. Think of the Christmas presents that will never be opened, the lost potential of human lives and the dreams and hopes of their parents lost in a tidal wave of grief. I can and my heart breaks a little more every time I think of it.

Yet for all my imaginings and empathy, I am not a parent. My heart is not walking around outside my body and some lunatic has not just changed my life, irrevocably, in the space of minutes. Whatever I might imagine, the reality of it is likely to be many, many times worse.

People have glibly and conveniently stated that this is not the time for talking politics, that it is a time to grieve and heal. There is truth in that but, as so often is the case, it is not the whole truth. It is more a convenient lie meant to silence us and run from the issue. These acts of mass violence are preventable and we have failed in our collective responsibility as a society to take what steps we can to minimize gun violence. The best time to talk about it is NOW while the tragedy is staring us in the face.

These escalating acts of violence are made all the easier by lax gun laws. We do our children and ourselves a great disservice by being complicit in the silence that has allowed the NRA to proliferate guns to any moron with an itchy finger. I don’t believe that more rigorous background checks are the sole answer to this problem. Automatic weapons should be banned, as a federal measure. The cost of ammunition should be prohibitively expensive and strict regulatory control is desperately needed. However, I will take anything as a starting point over where we are now.

As quiet as it’s kept, the reality of gun violence is not limited to mass killings. Murder happens every day in our cities, particularly in urban communities of color. Look at the epidemic of violence in Chicago. The sheer number of posts on the Huffington Post is sure to blow your mind. It has been happening for such a long time that it is now de facto and unchallenged. Cause, you know, Blacks are just violent and perpetrating this madness all on their own. bullshit. How wrong is that?

Politicians have considered it political suicide to tackle the issue of gun violence. Either that, or they are in the pockets of the NRA. Between the complicity, corruption and gun advocates raving about their 2nd amendment rights… We’ve landed HERE. STOP. Do not pass Go as your life may be forfeit.

This speaks volumes about the state of our so called civilized society. Is this epidemic of violence civilized? Must we continue to debate about the responsibilities of the individual when the collective is suffering heavy casualties, the loss of human life?

We’re not doing it right.

Something must be done and it is our responsibility to demand change. It can not be that the corporations have taken hold of this country and continually screw the masses out of decent wages, affordable food, safe drinking water, affordable utilities, housing and our very lives. Not if we stand together and call for change. They said the corporations would win the elections with the billions donated by special interests and they were wrong. Let’s make them wrong again.

Take heart, save someone’s life and make your voice heard. If you take action, you’ll not only feel better but you will honor the victims.

**Updated: Please read the following piece by Golide Taylor. I admire her tremendously for her veracity and courage. Gun violence affects in so many ways and her story is one of many.**

1. Facts about US gun violence

2. Who’s in the NRA’s pocket?

3. The Brady Campaign

Go to http://www.bradycampaign.org to see how you can help.

4. Sign a White House Petition

There are a bunch of petitions on the White House site. I chose this one: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/immediately-address-issue-gun-control-through-introduction-legislation-congress/2tgcXzQC?utm_source=wh.gov&utm_medium=shorturl&utm_campaign=shorturl

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16 thoughts on “Updated: Gun Violence in America – Take Action”

  1. Coco, you, myself and others must continue to be the town criers for common sense gun control and as I read your post and that of Goldie Taylor and Sikivu Hutchinson, whose article I reposted on my blog; I’m convinced that there are so many others who share our views. I thought it was particularly courageous of Melissa Harris-Perry to discuss the underlying facets of racism and classism whenever these horrendous events occur.

    We must shine “stadium” lights on this madness and sign petitions or whatever is necessary to support our President in his effort to restrict these weapons of mass destruction. I was taken by how we’re using this opportunity to also remind the world of the daily gun violence in many inner city communities with some of the same dynamics that encouraged this mother to amass weaponry of this magnitude. She trained this young man to use them and he clearly had anti-social issues probably veiled by his Asperger Syndrome diagnosis. There are many who tend to look at inner city crime as an inherent characteristic of those involved and that rural or small town mass killings as an anomaly. We live in a society that romanticizes the killing of humans via games, tv and videos and yes we have a punitive approach to providing effective mental health services for individuals and families. We’re ALL in trouble and frankly it doesn’t matter where we live!

    1. Hope Coco doesn’t mind another comment from me; Carolyn, I so agree about the video game issue. Grand Theft Auto is especially offensive to me. Sadly the media has spread the rumor about Lanza having Asperger’s when there’s no evidence he has any mental illness.

      Of course that doesn’t change our vital support for mental health care.

  2. Thank you Coco, for taking yet another approach on this highly sensitive tragedy. I can definitely relate as a parent. My eyes are tired and my heart is still so heavy this morning. I imagine that it will be that way for a while. I look at my children so differently now.

    Thank you for talking about gun control. There are actually folk out there that think that “more guns” is the answer. How incredulous! It should not be easier to secure a firearm than a job.

    Peace be with you, Coco. Keep the lines open.

    1. You’re more than welcome. A lot of us feel down today and I imagine it will be that way for some time. Praying that PBO takes matters in hand and begins what I imagine will be a long, protracted fight with Congress to get something done.

      Hugz,

      C.

  3. Perfect. Thnk you for speaking these truths. In 2011 I was selected to be on the grand jury of the Ed Fleury trial, and had the extreme displeasure of watching a video of an 8 year old accidentally shoot himself in the head with an Uzi at a gun show. Just horrible. There is no earthly reason why any of these obscene weapons should be sold.

    The White House by the way has some new anti-gun petitions if anyone’s interested. Heartening to see many people have signed.

    I am not a parent either, it makes me feel like I cannot truly understand on the one hand. On the other, I feel like our communities have some work to do, we can gather together and become as a family, as though these are our children too.

    Bless.

    1. Amelie,

      Your first sentences horrified me, I can’t even imagine that. I’m the woman who covers her eyes at extreme violence in movies and on TV. Can’t stand the blood and gore. I will never get used to seeing people’s heads explode, sorry!

      In an unintentional metaphor of life, with all it’s beauty and horror, you last sentence left me elated, like a warm hug :). Thank you…

      Peace & Blessings,

      C.

      1. Very kind. Thanks, Coco.

        I found myself feeling sorrow for not only the child but everyone involved in that trial. It was a tragic accident. and very hard to blame anyone.

    1. Hi Jueseppi,

      I owe this post to you :). I was lost and then I remembered your post about reblogging and why we all come here, to work it out, air our stuff and all that. It drove me to my desk lol. Thank you for that, as well as the reblog.

      Peace,

      C.

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