Yesterday, as I was sitting in a restaurant eating lunch, I heard a huge bang. I looked over to my left, and there he was – the elderly shop owner – sitting on the floor. Someone had spilled a little water, he slipped, and down he went. After a few seconds of collective panic, we were informed that he just twisted his ankle, and was, for the most part, fine. Because it created such a commotion, we started talking to the table next to us, and the woman sitting at that table posed a hypothetical question: “Isn’t it strange how life just… happens?”
She was right. As we move forward in time, calmness can turn into tragedy in less than a second. Earthquakes, car crashes, rogue waves, storms, floods, falls. There are times when we just can’t escape the things that are beyond our control. The tragedy at Sandy Hook was NOT beyond our control.
Our system has failed us. For too long, advocates of gun “freedom” have been citing their “right to bear arms,” and anything that interferes with this notion is unconstitutional. But, when our forefathers drafted the Bill of Rights, it was in the context of bayonets and Smith and muskets, not semi-automatic weapons suitable for the front lines. There comes a point when your “right” to own a gun should be trumped by my right to NOT have my kids or teacher husband get murdered for going to school. NOW is the time to implement stricter gun legislation. Now is the time to say to ourselves “let’s not let next time be in our schools, our malls, our movie theaters, our public spaces.” Let’s not let the next victims be our kids, our friends, our mothers our brothers, fathers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, coworkers.
NOW is the time to act, but no matter how hard we work for now, now can NEVER replace yesterday. Let’s take one single step together. Let’s go beyond shaking our heads and updating a Facebook status. Let’s harness this grief, fear, anger, despair, guilt, confusion… and do something. It doesn’t have to by much – a community vigil, a prayer with friends, an unofficial gathering at your school or workplace. That one tiny step, when taken together, can lead to something bigger and better.
Let’s come together and make change happen, for without change, we keep exposing ourselves to more of the same.