Grief and Outrage

In our great country, we send those closest to our hearts, our (precious children) to a safe place–our neighborhood schools. But in the land of the free, our hearts are filled with fear because there is no safe place in a country where 300,000,000 firearms are easily accessible. It does not matter whether these weapons are legally owned. What do we know about these gun owners armed with numerous firearms? A legal upstanding gun owner is one argument or one crisis away from violence. Where do the millions of unstable people who live in our communities obtain their firearms? These dangerous killing weapons are in homes, presumably protecting the family from harm.

We are outraged at the massacre of those innocent children at the Newtown, Connecticut elementary school! We don’t want sympathy from elected officials. Thoughts and prayers are NOT ENOUGH.

We demand action! Elected officials are to be held accountable! We are now experiencing mass shootings nearly every week in our country. Every gun control organization, every faith-based organization is calling on the American people to add their voice to insist our elected leaders take action to prevent future tragedies.

President Obama issued a proclamation honoring the victims of the tragedy, ordering U.S. flags to be flown at half-staff until sunset on December 18. The president also made a statement on the shooting from the Briefing Room on Friday afternoon.

And in his remarks he said, “And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics. “And I will do everything in my power as President to help.” We must hold him to his words.

Strong and smart gun laws correlate to less gun violence.

The day you read this 32 Americans will die and 4 times that many will suffer debilitating injuries from firearms. And this will happen again tomorrow and the next day, totaling 30,000 Americans killed from gun violence every year. Has this latest killing of 20 young children and 7 adults in a school finally opened our eyes? We hope it has, for how many more must die needlessly.

We the people must demand action from our president and our legislators at all levels. Think: shootings in malls, theaters, schools and in homes—while loaded and unlocked weapons reside in the homes of millions of Americans, easily accessible—there is no safe and quiet community.

Toni Wellen
Chair, Coalition Against Gun Violence
(805) 684-8434
Santa Barbara County

Toni Wellen is the chair of the Santa Barbara Coalition Against Gun Violence. She lives in Carpinteria.