3rd Annual National Vigil For All Victims of Gun Violence

People came together December 6th in Santa Barbara as they are doing on December 9 and all this week for the  3rd Annual National Vigil For All Victims of Gun Violence. Mere words cannot plumb the depths of the loss of a loved one to gun violence, a wound that never heals. With 30,000 plus gun deaths in America annually, it has come at last to this, that we now come together at this time each year to remember and recommit. During this national time of grief, America mourns annually for all victims of gun violence.


Too often after a tragic shooting we hear that prayers and condolences are not enough. The community of San Bernardino now joins Santa Barbara and so many others in a grief that never ends and our country continues to mourn every time a life is lost to gun violence. What is the answer to this epidemic of gun violence?

The NRA’s mantra is that America needs good guys with guns to counteract the bad guys with guns. The San Bernardino shooter was exactly that, an apparently good guy until he (and his wife) used firearms that are illegal in California to slaughter innocent people. The shooter was considered a mild quiet man who held a stable, middle-class job. His family is shocked.   And as usual there is a dark story was behind this heinous act.   The reason America has over 30,000 guns deaths very year, that’s 85+ each day, is because lots of good guys with guns also have problems. They explode and use that handy gun and suddenly become bad guys with guns. It’s happening somewhere in America as I speak.

How long will it take Congress to hear the voice of the majority of Americans who want sensible gun violence prevention laws? The NRA’s mantra that more guns make us safer is obviously shockingly and tragically wrong. The people who refuse to see this are elected members of Congress blocking all action to prevent gun violence in America. On December 12-3-15, just days after 14 innocent people were shot to death and 21 wounded in San Bernardino, in a party-line vote the committee Republicans killed an amendment from Democrat Rep. Mike Quigley that would have blocked firearm purchases by those on the FBI’s terrorist watch list. The voices of the people are not being heard. However, we will not give up. The parents of Newtown are not giving up. Richard Martinez and Bill Weiss, who lost their children in the Isla Vista shooting are not giving up. We the people must not give up. We must work together, make our voices louder, vote people who are supported by the NRA out of office.

It is emerging that this was possibly an act of terrorism. There have been 355 mass shootings in 2015 in the United States, meaning four people killed in a single event. We need to view every shooting as an act of terrorism because of the terror that occurs to families and communities with even one killing. This country has hopefully reaching a tipping point. Remember the movie “Network,” when Howard Beale says, “I’m mad as Hell and I won’t take this anymore.” Aren’t we there yet?

(image:  CAGV Chair Toni Wellen, December 6, 2015,  Memorial/Vigil, Santa Barbara)

Slideshow for the 2015 National Vigil For All Victims of Gun Violence. Video #1 of 2.