Maybe it’s the hundreds of poetry essays moving in red folders across my table in the AP Literature scoring room, or the company of hundreds of English teachers, all equally obsessed over words, but as soon as I saw this morning’s headline on a discarded newspaper on the conference center cafeteria table, my mind flooded with questions and outrage about gun violence. I don’t want to minimize this latest shooting (prayers to all involved) but… this is what will cause Washington to become stunned over the epidemic that has been spreading like wildfire in our communities?
My first inclination was to list all the victims of gun-related murders, from Columbine to Sandy Hook Elementary school, those at Pulse to those from Ferguson to Baton Rouge, the list goes on and on and on and on, crossing borders and time zones and bridges and walls and communities from one end of our planet clear across to another. The list is too long but their names are worth calling out, every day, like a bell awakening us from tragedy to action.
So, now Washington takes notice? If this is indeed a tipping point when our elected officials will surge into action and draft useful and enforceable gun laws, when our gun lobbyists are silenced into shame and sent to the back of the room, then today is cause for celebration.
But I don’t hold out much hope for that scenario. Instead, I think it is time to scream and shout and raise hell and gather up the 300 million guns from the third of our population who owns them, and throw them all into the hands of artists who might do something far more productive with the melted metals.
Otherwise, are we to become the dystopia of middle school readers? Do we actually believe we can fight violence with violence? Are we to become a war zone? When will enough be enough? Are we safer because 37% of our populace keeps an arsenal in their home? Are we to always live in fear?
This is not an American problem. (But being number 1 in arms sales certainly doesn’t earn bragging rights as far as I’m concerned) We can take credit for this global dilemma, but our think-tanks, suits and lobbyists cannot solve this. Perhaps moms and dads and sisters and brothers and kids can.
In fact, why not have a conversation with your children, with anyone you know coming up in the next generation, as a starting point. Ask them what they hope for as you all drift along amidst these uncertain and directionless times. Ask them what is their vision for tomorrow? What is it they dream about when they think about making American, no, the Earth, a better place? Ask yourself, how might we shepherd them there? How might we do our job, as adults, securing their security?
#Resist #ActUp #DoSomething #HaveAConversation #ThinkDeeplyAboutOurOneWorld