A recent article in The Washington Post was titled “Shooting Massacre Victims: thoughts and prayers aren’t enough.”
What is it going to take for our country to realize that actions speak louder than words? Who is going to stand up and force gun control onto the table and not let it get dropped without a solution that resolutely ends gun violence?
It’s not going to be politicians on their own accord. President Obama apologized to Navy Yard victims and families, saying he has already done all that he can — which has been what exactly? Thoughts and prayers.
Two Colorado state legislators were recalled from their seats this month because of their strong efforts on gun control restrictions. Colorado: the state in which two of the top 15 deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history have occurred, Columbine and Aurora. However, in Colorado, it is political suicide to be a supporter of gun control.
The survivors of gun violence have a difficult time making a difference as well.
Their efforts have been strong, but haven’t turned the tide. Survivors and family members of victims from Aurora, Newtown, Virginia Tech and others embarked on a 100-day tour, holding 25 rallies in 25 states while sharing their stories.
It was a fruitless effort, one that produced little-to-no real action among politicians, or anyone for that matter. Meanwhile, gun rallies held by the NRA at the same time attracted thousands, serving as a slap in the face to the survivors and family members.
Unlike countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia, which immediately enacted effective gun control laws after mass shootings occurred in their nations, the United States has dragged its feet for too long.
The Navy Yard shooting is just another example of what will happen while we wait for politicians to act.
Change must come from another source. Someone has to make gun control their number one priority, in much the same way that the NRA has made the protection of gun ownership theirs.
So who should it be? Women.
From a demographic standpoint, women are a deciding factor. It was women who got Obama elected in 2008 and 2012. Women are helping Terry McAuliffe to comfortably lead in the polls over Ken Cuccinelli.
Women came together to fight the serious consequences of drunk driving by forming Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Because of this group’s efforts, the U.S. now has more severe penalties for driving under the influence. In 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that drunk driving deaths had been cut in half since MADD’s foundation 23 years earlier.
The Center for Disease Control estimates that 25,679 people have died by gun violence since Newtown, 13 of which were at a federally protected facility, the Washington Navy Yard.
And so now it is time for women — the mothers of countless victims — to demand to be heard in the very same way that Mothers Against Drunk Driving commanded the hearts and minds of parents and politicians everywhere.
All aspects of the issue need to be addressed, from mental health to the pragmatic application of sensible gun control measures.
An understanding must be reached: safety trumps political ideology.