Has gun violence against schoolchildren, college kids, moviegoers, churchgoers, black and Latino men, and now journalists on live TV become so commonplace that we can just turn the channel and thank God it’s not our children or our sisters or brothers who were targeted? Are we a nation so sedated by violent video games, Hollywood war blockbusters and reality cop shows that our hearts are numb to real-life violence? Are our politicians so indebted to or fearful of the gun lobby that they would sacrifice the bodies of our children to keep their hefty campaign donations?
These are some of the questions that Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action are asking our congressional politicians as they return from their recess. Those impacted by gun violence have organized Whatever It Takes Day of Action, a nationwide campaign to end unchecked gun violence in our nation.
Each day in the U.S., 88 people are killed and hundreds of others injured by gun violence. We all have heard the reasons: Guns are purchased by the mentally ill; loopholes have been added to background checks intended to keep weapons out of the wrong hands; parents leave loaded weapons in their homes where their children or other people’s children might get their hands on them; domestic violence leads to injury or homicide, or teens commit suicide with a gun they’ve found or bought; semi-automatic weapons are taken up by lost kids who shoot up schools or public places.
Guns are glamorized by our media and our nation’s mythology and protected by our Constitution. The human toll is ignored by those who claim their right to own weapons supersedes a parent’s right to keep his or her children alive.
Andy Parker, the father of Alison Parker, one of the two journalists shot to death in Virginia on live TV Aug. 26, has pledged to do “whatever it takes” to get “common-sense” gun legislation enacted once and for all.
Will our politicians listen this time, or will they pocket their votes and their gun-lobby money before turning their backs on the families of those who have died or the families of those who have lost their capacity to walk or use their brains or live the promise of what they were supposed to become?
Activists like Parker are average citizens pushed to their limit by unimaginable atrocities. Today they ask our leaders: Whose rights are more important—those of people who seek to bear arms at any cost or those of people who want their children to be able to attend school, go to church, go to the movies, go to college, without fearing for their safety?