How can you do it? How can you move on with your day when the burning world seems to blaze hotter with every bullet aimed at our innocents?
Because I can’t move on anymore. I wish I had your strength, or your willful ignorance, or a combination of the two, but I just don’t have it within me — not anymore. It was shot down this morning, in a Fort Myers nightclub.
Am I taking all of this too personally? Or are you not taking it personally enough?
Every time a hateful individual aims a weapon at the body of a black man or a police officer or a nightclub goer, here’s who I imagine they are seeing through the sight of their weapon:
I see my neighbor playing “Tag” with his gleeful preschooler at a local park.
I see my husband, smiling sleepily at me as he dresses in the pre-dawn darkness, getting ready for another day of work.
I see my teenage daughter who has carefully picked out her outfit and spent an hour styling her hair as she prepares for a night of fun with her friends.
And then I see them getting into their cars: They buckle themselves in, keeping themselves safe, unaware that at the same time, a man with a gun is methodically assembling his weapon, his thoughts full of fear and hate and blame.
Through some strange contortion of his twisted logic, my neighbor, my husband, my child, are somehow blamed as the sources of his fear. He hates them with the coldness of a soldier: It’s not personal; it’s war.
The gun is his way of efficiently removing his enemy from world.
Then, one by one, innocent lives disintegrate in an impersonal spray of blood and bone.
A 4-year-old girl’s life is shattered when she watches her father’s blood slowly spreading from his heart.
A spouse’s life is shattered when she receives a phone call that her partner’s beloved body is awaiting her in the morgue.
A mother’s life is shattered when she sees the news: Someone has gunned down kids at a nightclub. Her daughter, who had been dancing with joyful abandon and stepped outside for some cool Florida evening air, now lies motionless on the ground outside the nightclub; her dress and hair are soaked with her own blood and the blood of her friends.
And We the People do nothing for these shattered lives other than send them thoughts and prayers and argue on the internet about gun control for a few days, but then we move on with our lives.
Because it’s nothing personal; it’s just another day in America.
Please, I beg you: Start taking these shootings personally.
With every bullet that blasts its way into the body of a black man or a police officer or someone’s dancing child, the chances of your life ending or being shattered increase.
Does that frighten you enough to care? Then please, America: DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
Your thoughts and prayers just aren’t enough anymore. The Facebook bickering isn’t enough.
Stop moving on with your day. Please.
Just stop what you’re doing — take a 10-minute break from work or from running errands — and do what you need to do to ensure your neighbor, spouse, or child won’t ever be slaughtered by the impersonal hatred of a man with a gun.
1. Make a phone call.
Here’s the number for the Capitol Hill switchboard: 202-224–3121. Ask them to connect you with your representative in Congress. Demand that they support common sense measures to curb gun violence, like background checks for all gun sales and banning gun sales to terror suspects.
2. Write an email.
You can find find and contact your representative here. Take the time you spend arguing about gun control on Facebook or Twitter to address your thoughts to someone who can make a difference. Seriously, all it takes is 140 characters to make your voice heard. Just put it in an email instead of a tweet.
3. Follow the money and vote.
Please ask yourself this question when it’s time to make your mark on the ballot. Is your party’s candidate willing to stand up to the gun lobby and make it harder for gun manufacturers to put assault weapons into the hands of assassins? Don’t listen to their words or watch their campaign contributions? Here’s a breakdown of where gun rights money is going (from non-partisan political watchdog Open Secrets).
Just do one of those things, then move on with your life.
Because all of our lives are counting on you.