What I am going to do about gun violence

Like many others I am frustrated by the frequency of gun violence in the US.  

I find myself reading daily about another mass shooting and wringing my hands about why there seems to be nothing happening to stop or even reduce the occurrence of these horrific events.

I think even more about it now that my family and I are on the verge of moving back to the States after being away for the past 2-1/2 years.

Before we left on this trip, the shootings at Sandy Hook and the Aurora movie theater (in particular) had a huge impact on me. My son was in preschool at the time of the Sandy Hook shooting; my office was less than 1 mile and my home less than 5 miles away from where the Aurora shooting took place. Both events shook me to my core for how close they hit to my home both emotionally and physically.  

It upset me to the point that it was a major reason behind our decision to move up the departure date of our trip by one whole year.  Doing so had the benefit (among many other benefits) that we could escape the insanity sooner rather than later.

Now we are at the point of voluntarily moving back to the US and I find myself feeling helpless about the apparent apathy (or is it numbness?) that seems to be somewhat pervasive in my home country about these events. We as a society seem to have accepted the occurrence of these tragedies on some level. Some folks have even expressed that this state of affairs is our new norm.

I simply cannot accept this on a personal level.  

This is not the world that I want for my son or for anyone. We need to be so much better than this. We need to do something to stop this downward spiral of our society. I need to do something, really anything, that might affect a positive change on this front.

So this is what I have decided to do…

I am going to draft a thoughtful letter asking for (1) increased funding to better support treatment and care of the mentally ill, (2) stricter controls on gun sales to include more thorough and consistent background checks and (3) measures to drastically reduce or eliminate sales of semi-automatic weapons. 

I intend to send this letter to each and every one of my democratically-elected politicians, from the local level all the way up to the national level.

Then, EACH and EVERY time another one of these horrific incidents happens, instead of wringing my hands and letting my blood pressure boil, I will again send a copy of this letter (or a newer version of it as my ideas evolve over time) to each of these politicians.  

These days every politician has a web presence, so it is relatively easy to find their web page and submit a letter with little more than a copy and paste. Most, if not all, politicians also have staffers who collect a tally of opinions from all such constituent correspondence.

Will this action make a difference? I honestly don’t know.  

My one letter to each politician for each event might still end up in the noise of information that my political leaders have to process. But it is the way our democracy is constructed and by NOT voicing my opinion to them they will — without a doubt — listen to other constituents’ opinions, which may or may not be the same as mine. I am simply giving them information to help them do their job to the best of their ability.

Mainly though this gives me something to do that might make a difference, which to me is so much better than doing nothing.

Thank you for reading.