When it happened at Virginia Tech, we watched as the night sky was lit by the vigil candles. We saw mothers crying and young people, who I had thought to be so mature, devastated by the loss of their friends and classmates.
When it happened at Sandy Hook, we watched as the children filed out of the school and the young faces flashed across the screen - as if the two seconds could make up for the years they lost because someone ended their lives too soon.
When it happened in San Bernardino, we watched as the police chased the shooters. I remember thinking, “Who has a problem with Christmas parties?”
Then Orlando happened. I saw the headline and assumed it was about the singer that had been shot the week before in Orlando and ignored it. I was wrong. This scared me more than anything before, not because I thought someone was going to come after me, but because I had become so accustomed to this cycle - people dying, constituents calling for action from their legislatures, nothing happening, victims are forgotten, and then it repeats - that I had started to ignore it and I had overlooked the loss of 50 lives. 50 people taken, most not much older than I.
I was so used to hearing about this subject and so tired of the cycle that I hadn’t asked any questions and looked the other way.
Every time a shooting happens, I hear someone say, “Don’t worry that won’t happen here.”
Well, how much of “here” is left? I’m sure someone said that about a high school in Parkland and a nightclub in Orlando and probably an Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania, but it did happen there. It happened there and in so many other places that there are lists titled “Major Mass Shootings in the United States,” because there have been so many that we need to differentiate between those that took enough lives to be classified as “major” and “minor.”
I don’t want to know how many more lives are going to be lost at the hands of gun violence before someone decides to do something. I keep hearing this argument that as Americans we are granted the right to bear arms as part of the 2nd Amendment in the US Constitution, but in the Preamble to this same document, we all, whether we want it or not, are granted the right to life.I am not trying to start an argument on gun control, but I am attempting to get people to think about what would happen if we start thinking about the greater good rather than the individual’s needs. The United States was founded with three major goals: to ensure domestic tranquility (have peace and calmness within the boundaries of the US), provide for the common welfare (protect US citizens), and promote the general welfare (attend to the well-being of our people.) We need to stop sitting back and letting things happen. We need to ignore our wants and support the needs of the common welfare. The need to stop seeing children die because they braved walking into school. We need to end our generation’s toxic relationship with mass shootings before there aren't any of us left to say something.