When I heard the news about the Orlando shooting, I burst into tears. I was surprised I had such a strong reaction. Nearly every time I talk about it, I start to cry. So senseless. The upset and terror I feel about public spaces…and I am angry that I worry about being in a crowd, or going to a theater, church or any other place where people gather. I am so angry that we as Americans have not expected this to get handled. That we have expected Congress to handle it, when so many have ties to the NRA. I donate to the causes I think will help, and still feel powerless to change. Who in the ef needs assault weapons?!
I felt hopeful this morning when I read that the Senate received over 120,000 calls in the last few days from people asking to increase background checks. Chris Murphy, a Republican, and other senators like Dick Durbin and Cory Booker, started a filibuster on the floor of the Senate. Senator Murphy took control of the Senate floor for a 14-hour, all-night talk-a-thon to push for a vote to extend Brady background checks to every gun purchase. The Brady Center has asked that we keep flooding the Senate with calls, as this is going to vote. The Bill is 551, and they want us to vote yes. It’s going up for a vote shortly.
Following is a link to the Brady Center. Simple instructions are on the page. You just fill in your info on the right. They will automatically call you right away, and you press # to be connected to a Senator that the Brady campaign wants to influence. You give your name, where you live and that you encourage the senator to vote YES on Bill 551. I just did it a couple of times, and it only takes a few minutes (I did four, and will do a couple more.) Here’s the link:
We cannot give up, we really do need to stand together on this issue. The president of the American Medical Association just declared gun violence a public health hazard. This is also progress. We need to encourage our community to take public stands — and some of our speakers after MIT have said this as well. These senseless acts of violence cannot be commonplace. We need to lead with our values and our hearts and our heads. Only when a majority of Americans and powerful American institutions and cities stand together can we have the power to change this. It is not business as usual, the Congress as we have seen won’t be effective without our voices, and we cannot live in fear and denial. Many people have fought and died for our freedom to voice our opinions and to speak up without violence. I feel compelled to write and speak and encourage others to speak out. We are not powerless.