You guys. This was originally going to be a very different post. It was going to be primarily based around a recent experience of mine, but instead it's going to be related to the shooting in Las Vegas, because I can't stop thinking about it. Because most of us can't stop shaking our heads and fists about it.
So here's the deal: our congress has failed us. They have failed us on so many issues but especially on the issue of gun control. It's monumental. I want to start off by saying this: I believe in the right to bear arms. My father was a cop. I've been around guns, I know how to shoot guns. If you want a gun to go hunt for recreation within limits of the law - please go ahead and do that. If you want a handgun that holds a few bullets and you have a permit for it and it's registered - fine. If you feel the need to have an assault weapon that can house multiple rounds of ammunition then no. Just no. That's not okay.
It's unconscionable to me that we have to take a test to drive a car, and yet we don't have to take a test to own a gun. Someone will undoubtedly say "cars kill too" and yes, I suppose they do, and (most of the time) when a car kills, it's an accident. But when a human being walks into a hotel with bags full of illegal weapons and ammunition with a calculated plan to terminate the lives of innocent people, that's not an accident. That's murder. That's terrorism. There's a difference.
We need stricter laws. Stricter gun laws do not mean taking guns away. They mean being smarter about who gets the guns. They mean (hopefully) educating others about proper use and ownership. They mean being smart and vetting candidates that are mentally sound enough to use guns responsibly. I truly believe that if we institute a test process, a better vetting process, we can reduce (not eliminate) the gun issue in this country.
So how do we learn from this? It's unfathomable to me that we're still having this conversation, but it's necessary.
We MUST learn from this as a society.
We MUST stop this.
We MUST have our voices be heard.
Here's the thing people - this government WORKS FOR US. We are their boss. We get to tell them what we want. We need to change our mindset to believe that we will make a difference. How do we do that? We communicate. We call and write to our elected officials and if our officials are on the side of reason, then we reach out to the ones who aren't. Don't be afraid to call a senator in Nevada, for example, to let them know where you stand on the issue of gun control. We cannot stay silent. We cannot allow more of this to happen.
When will it be enough? When will you stand up and speak out? When it's someone you love? When you're affected directly? Guess what? YOU are being affected directly. Our children are watching. They are seeing how we respond to these tragedies. None of us deserves to live in a society that normalizes events like this. We shouldn't be afraid to go to events, to get on planes, to enjoy ourselves. That should be the norm. It's changing - and we have to stop it before it keeps going.
Here are links to find your elected officials, take action and learn more about gun laws - educate yourself and please use your voice, it' matters.