Most of you have already heard about the mass shooting in San Bernadino, California this week. Each day, we wake up to some new horror as we watch our nation bathe itself in fresh blood. In 2015, there have been more mass shootings in the United States than days - 352 as of this posting.
I live in Texas, where we just passed an open carry law. My neighborhood is home to a beautiful Islamic Mosque, where we continually see armed citizens protesting against our Islamic neighbors. My 8-year-old son sees white men standing on a public street corner, armed to the teeth, staring down Islamic families, children in tow, as they enter their place of worship. How to I explain this to my children? How have we allowed this kind of flagrant display of terror in our own country, when we demonize it oversees? How is it that candidates for the presidency are allowed, and even encouraged by their base, to spout racism and misogyny? How? How?
It's easy in these moments to feel completely paralyzed. Right now my guts are churning. Every weekday I send my children off to public school where they engage in active shooter drills. (When visiting my son at school a few weeks ago, he showed me a place in his classroom where he thought he might hide if a gunman entered his second grade classroom.) Additionally, my husband works at a University - a prime target for mass shootings. I think about their safety constantly. But paralysis is the enemy. We must, as my friend Rachel Rice said, "Transform your grief into actions, your prayers into plans." Hell, yes.
Now is the time to interrupt our collective habit energy. Now is the time to contact your representatives. Now is the time to call out politicians who are strapped to the NRA. Now is the time to look deeply at our own habits, fears, prejudices. We must realize that this is our unique American Problem. These mass shootings are on us. We created this and we are perpetuating it. And no amount of "thoughts and prayers" will save us. We need action on a national scale now.
Thank you, Rachel Rice, for the following:
Thank you, Tom Paxton, for this protest song.