Dear Oregon State Legislators,
We were confused. Was she calling to us? We were dropping off flyers asking legislators to sponsor a bill that would ban semi-automatic assault weapons. Was she upset with us?
Then we saw.
We stood there, in one of your aide’s cubicles, watching the news break on CNN. A classroom of children had just been shot.
We broke into tears. Your aide passed us her box of tissues.
As we walked up and down your halls the rest of the day, we shared in a sense of shock. Some of you were crying. You wanted to go pick up your children. You thought of your grandchildren. You wept for the lost children.
We looked into each other’s eyes and saw each other’s humanity.
One of you sat in the desk outside your office. You were a Republican, a gun owner. You looked us in the eyes and said that you wanted to “have a discussion,” that you felt there was a difference between semi-assault weapons and other guns. You Googled the news for us and told us the shooter had killed his mother.
One of you, a rural Democrat, asked, “Where do I sign?” You had never, ever supported gun control legislation before.
And then, there were those of you who just said, “No.”
“I don’t want to talk to you.”
With your deer’s head on the wall, and American flags draped around your office, you said you liked to use semi-automatic weapons… for sport.
You said the solution was to get “God” back in the schools.
You did not look us in the eye.
Let me ask you, did the founding fathers ever intend this? Do you seriously intend to fund the mental health system to the degree necessary to identify and treat every possible madman who may someday attack a school room of children? A parking lot full of people? A mall of holiday shoppers?
Let 2013 be the year we can look each other in the eye, look our children, our grandchildren, in the eye, and say, “We will do everything we can to stop these shootings. If that means turning in our guns–guns that shoot 30-50 rounds at a time–so that we can make sure they never, ever get into the hands of a madman, so be it. If that means putting your lives ahead of our sport, so be it. If that means recognizing that people with guns kill people, and that we have to stop pointing fingers elsewhere and start addressing both sides of that equation, so be it. If we have to make radical changes, and stand up to the lobbyists, so be it.”
It’s 2013. It’s time.
Look me in the eye. Tell me you will help protect my children.
This post is a response to the Daily Prompt: “Dear Leader. If your government (local or national) accomplishes one thing in 2013, what would you like that to be?”