We need to talk about guns, America

Dear America,

writing-104091_640We need to talk. Like really talk. And we need to talk about guns. Right now. Because just yesterday nine more students were killed on their college campus in Oregon. Just last month, two journalists were shot dead, on air, during their morning broadcast in Virginia. Three years ago, 26 elementary students and teachers were killed in Connecticut. There has been a mass shooting of some kind, mostly at schools or colleges, every few months since 1999, since Columbine.

And I’m done.

I’m done with the rhetoric that claims that Obama wants your guns and then your Bibles. Guess what? He probably does not care which religious book you read or even if you believe in God. The man seems pretty open-minded and inclusive about religious beliefs. He definitely seems tired of commenting on yet another mass shooting. And I am tired of hearing him talk about it.

I’m tired of hearing that people need to legally own high capacity magazines for “home defense.” I’m calling you out, it’s BS. Guess who needs those types of weapons? The people they were designed for: the military. I’m pretty sure that you will not be engaging dozens of enemy insurgents in your living room. If your home gets invaded while you are home, you might face one to two people who may or may not be armed. You could totally get by with a basic magazine and a call to 911.

I’m sick to death of hearing that changing the laws won’t keep the guns out of the hands of criminals, so clearly we just need to make it easier for people to obtain more guns legally. Done. So just done with this. There have always been criminals, since the beginning of time. There will also always be a black market weapons trade. Great. But the harder we make it for a gun, any gun, to leave a legally authorized dealer, the harder it is for a criminal to obtain it.

The thing I am most tired of is the live shooter drill training. Every year that I have been a teacher, I have needed to gather my students into the most concealed corner of the classroom. I have had to choke down my own dread and my own tears of fear in order to comfort my students, my children, little boys and girls who should NOT have to think about safety at school in this way. I should NOT have to consider creating a blockade when I arrange my classroom. My meetings with fellow teachers should be about how amazing our kids are, and not discussions about how to escape our rooms safely. I should not need to consider the best way to stop, stall , or otherwise hinder the progress of a shooter or intruder in my school. I wish that I did not have to consider making the choice between going home to my own sweet daughter and protecting the 20+ little lives entrusted to me each and every day.

I am tired.

I also have some ideas. We need to make getting a gun more challenging, and we need to make those laws uniform and enforceable nation wide.

We need more training, we need more complete background checks, we need mental health screenings. We need family background checks. Because if a person legally obtains a weapon, then anyone who has access to his home also has access. That means: kids, spouse, visitors, and mentally ill friends or family. That means friends or family members with criminal backgrounds. That means anyone.

We need to assess the purpose of weapon ownership. Do you want to hunt, do you want to protect your home? What are you going to do with that gun? There might need to be limits and tracking of how many guns you own, and how much ammo you have on hand, and what kind of magazines that you purchase.

And my ideas may be terrible. Great, that’s fine.

But I have ideas, and I’m putting them out there, and I want to discuss how to make progress on this issue.

Because I am done. I am tired of mass shootings, and gun rights rhetoric that doesn’t offer a compromise, and guns & Bibles arguments, and little kids and college students DYING while they are at school.

This is what it comes down to: if you ignore this issue, more people might die. More children might die at the hands of a mass shooter.

Start by writing your congress person or senator. Let them know you care, and that should they dither over this once again, that they have lost your vote. Get your friends to write, too. Call, email, Tweet at the NRA and other gun rights groups with hard-line rhetoric, and let them know you are tired and fed up with the nonsense.

Do anything that you think might help.

Because we cannot, we must not, have another school shooting that goes ignored after a few days. We MUST act, and it must be now.

Our children are counting on us to protect them. Let’s not let them down.




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